Alleged rape victim in Libya tells mother of ordeal, threat


By the CNN Wire Staff
  • “AC360” reunites Eman al-Obeidy with her mother
  • Young woman says court employee threatened her
  • Her mother tells her to keep her faith
  • Al-Obeidy says she has tried to leave Libya, but authorities have thwarted her attempts

(CNN) — Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claims forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raped her, spoke Tuesday with her mother, who has come to her defense, for the first time since her ordeal began.

Al-Obeidy told Aisha Ahmad that a court employee pulled a weapon on her when she went to a courthouse.

Al-Obeidy, who burst into a Tripoli hotel last month to tell her harrowing story to journalists, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an emotional phone interview that the administrative court employee threatened her life.

“The people came and started pulling him,” said al-Obeidy, who related the incident to her mother, also on the phone. “The whole day in the court they were saying we are going to kill this failure who reports on our brigades.”

A car took her home, al-Obeidy said. “They don’t want me to go to the court at all.”

CNN could not independently verify the 29-year-old law school graduate’s claims.

Al-Obeidy, who is no longer in custody after authorities rushed her away from the hotel, said she still fears for her safety in Tripoli, which she called a “large prison.”

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She told “AC360” that Gadhafi forces took her passport and would not let her cross the border into Tunisia.

Her mother, Aisha Ahmad, who lives in the eastern coastal city of Tobruk, urged al-Obeidy to return to her parents “before they kill you.”

“You have Allah with you, you have Allah with you, you have Allah with you,” Ahmad said. “Do not change your statement.”

Ahmad tried to comfort her distraught daughter, saying, “they lie in the Libyan media.”

“I dream of them trying to kill me,” said al-Obeidy, who has spent time with her sister and is concerned about the health of her father back home.

Ahmad told al-Obeidy the world is praying for her and not to be afraid.

“I’m not afraid,” the daughter replied. “The one thing that really bothers me is that I’m far from you. Nobody is standing by me here in Tripoli.”

Asked by Cooper if she were still trying to leave the capital, al-Obeidy said, “How can I possibly get out of Tripoli when Tripoli is under siege? There are only two ways to get to my family, by way of Tunisia or through the eastern zone and they’re both under siege.”

Al-Obeidy, who was encouraged by Ahmad to pray and keep her faith, was grateful for the opportunity to speak with her family.

“We’d like to thank the American people and every person who tried to make my voice heard,” she said.

In two previous telephone interviews with Cooper, al-Obeidy spoke about her alleged abuse. At times in tears, at other times defiant, she recalled men pouring alcohol into her eyes and repeatedly using rifles to sodomize her.

Al-Obeidy said she spent 72 hours under interrogation after being dragged away from the Tripoli hotel where she tried to tell journalists about her alleged abuse.

She has said the public statements from a state TV anchor and government officials, who initially called her mentally ill, drunk and a prostitute, have ruined her reputation.

Al-Obeidy burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli on March 26 while international journalists staying there were having breakfast. She told reporters she had been taken from a checkpoint east of Tripoli, held against her will for two days and beaten and raped by 15 men.

When CNN saw her in March, al-Obeidy’s legs and face were bruised and she had blood on her right inner thigh. Her visible injuries appeared to support her allegations, but CNN could not independently verify her story.

CNN’s “AC360” spoke with al-Obeidy Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

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