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."
World Sport’s Alex Thomas, Photographer Beau Molloy and Producer Chris Eldergill were in Mumbai for Wednesday’s Cricket World Cup semifinal win by India over Pakistan. The mood in the street was electric. Producer Chris sent us this note, describing what it was like to be there.
"Cricket is a religion in India. Just another cliché right? Whilst that may be so, the way the people of Mumbai celebrated Wednesday’s victory over Pakistan showed a level of faith rarely seen in the sporting arena. The three of us dashed across parts of the city in an attempt to consume this ‘religion’, and from the slums to the swanky bars, the Indian people united behind their ‘Cricket Gods’. We as a team have experienced many sporting arenas and fan cultures as journalists travelling the world, but this experience is left us all with goosebumps, and had us thinking, 'How on earth are the Indian people going to eclipse this come Saturday evening against Sri Lanka?!'"