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April 8th, 2011
05:27 PM ET

Gadhafi's son arranges CNN interview with alleged Libyan rape victim

Nic Robertson and CNN Photographer Khalil Abdallah spoke with Back|Story to describe what it was like to be in the room with Eman al-Obeidy, how the interview was arranged and who else was in the room with them as the interview took place.

From Nic Robertson:

TRIPOLI, Libya (CNN) - It has been almost two weeks since Eman al-Obeidy burst into our hotel in Tripoli, desperate for the world to hear her story of rape and torture. We had been trying since then to interview her in person and were finally able to speak to her Wednesday, against the explicit wishes of the Libyan government.

"You should not be allowed to do this," government spokesman Musa Ibrahim told me.

The interview with al-Obeidy was facilitated by Gadhafi's son Saadi and was subject to a government review. We asked al-Obeidy if she would be willing to come to Saadi Gadhafi's office. She agreed and Gadhafi sent a car to pick her up.

She came dressed in ornate black robes and with her head covered. She called herself an ordinary citizen, a good Muslim who is conservative in her social outlook. She spoke with clarity and exuded strength through the conversation, adamant about clearing her name she said Libyan state media had smeared.

"Everything they said about me is a lie," she said.

"I am well-educated unlike the way the Libyan TV portrayed me. I come from a good family, regardless of what they said, I am also not mentally challenged like they said. Just because I raised my voice and talked to the media they blamed me and questioned my sanity. Nonetheless, I want my rights, even without the media."

She spoke of her abduction, of how she was taken to one of the residences of Moammar Gadhafi's soldiers. They were drunk, she said. They tied her up, beat and raped her.

Her bruises had faded, but I could still the see the evidence of her agony around her wrists. She said in the height of her trauma, she took pictures with the camera on her mobile phone, lest people should not believe her later.

"People have blamed me for showing my body," she said. "I was depressed and there was no way to show people how I was tortured. I was brutally tortured to the point of them entering weapons inside me. They would also pour alcohol in my eyes."

She said the men who tortured her are still free, without punishment. Later Saadi Gadhafi told me: "The people responsible for raping her should face charges. She is a strong woman."


soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Marina

    You know when I see Eman I think of another brave young woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman who was murdered during a protest in Tehran in January 2009....similar beautiful features...coming from within...I hope she does not suffer the same fate. Thanks Nic for all your terrific work the past 6 weeks in Tripoli...

    April 10, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Expensive

    I think ghadaffi's should be arrested for such a monstrous act and at least the lady and her family should be compensated.

    April 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kishan

      02K you asked When will O realize that Arab isrpng leads to Islamization not democracy. I would like to say the short answer is never and that he is just ignorant. Truth be told he knows exactly what it leads to.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Luis

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    December 5, 2012 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |