The scene was chilling. A woman bursting into a Tripoli hotel room to tell foreign reporters she was raped by Gaddafi’s troops only to be forcibly dragged away by security officials and effectively disappeared.
Now Amnesty fears Eman al-Obeidi is being detained and put under pressure to withdraw her allegations in what looks to be an attempt at face-saving by the government.
Al-Obeidi, who is now being sued by those who she says raped her with the apparent approval of Libyan authorities, should be released immediately. Instead of carrying out this smear campaign, the government should launch an investigation into her very serious allegations.
Eman al-Obeidi was removed from the Tripoli hotel last Saturday by security forces and detained and has not been seen since despite government claims that she was released.
During Colonel al-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 further cases of enforced disappearance by his forces since the current protests began.
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.
We will be issuing an urgent action for our members to write to the Libyan authorities and demand Eman al-Obeidi’s release later today. We will post the link back here on this blog.