Libya: Amnesty International Demands that Libyan Authorities End Campaign to Smear Woman Who Accused Soldiers of Raping Her

Press Release
March 31, 2011

Libya: Amnesty International Demands that Libyan Authorities End Campaign to Smear Woman Who Accused Soldiers of Raping Her

Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amnesty International Demands that Libyan Authorities End Campaign to Smear Woman Who Accused Soldiers of Raping Her

Organization Fears She is Being Detained to Pressure Her to Withraw Allegation of Rape

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(New York) – Amnesty International said today it was “outrageous” that Libyan authorities are now trying to discredit and bring legal action against Eman al-Obeidi, the woman who accused Libyan soldiers loyal to Col. Mu’ammar Gaddafi of raping her. The organization says it fears Al-Obeidi, a law graduate, is being detained and put under pressure to withdraw her allegation of rape.

“It is simply outrageous that Eman al-Obeidi is now being targeted by the very officials whom she has accused, with the apparent approval of the Libyan authorities,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Eman al-Obeidi’s case is alarming also because of the signal it sends to other women who may be subject to rape or other sexual violence, and who may now fear to come forward and disclose what has been done to them,” said Smart.

“This looks to be nothing but an attempt at face-saving by the government. Instead of carrying out this smear campaign, they should release her and independently investigate her allegations.”

Al-Obeidi was dragged out of a Tripoli hotel last Saturday by security forces and detained, after announcing to international journalists that she had been raped by Libyan soldiers loyal to Gaddafi.

Smart said: “Eman al-Obeidi has effectively disappeared. We fear that she is being detained and put under pressure to withdraw her allegations.”

During Gaddafi’s long rule in Libya, critics and opponents of his government have been routinely subjected to detention, torture and disappearance.

Amnesty International has recently documented scores of cases of enforced disappearance by his forces since the current protests began.

The organization is mobilizing its three million members worldwide to write to the Libyan authorities and demand al-Obeidi’s release.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org