Raped Libyan woman faces defamation action
By Donald Macintyre in Tripoli
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
The Libyan woman who publicly complained she had been gang-raped after being detained by pro-Gaddafi militia is now facing possible charges of defaming the men she said attacked her.
In a shocking scene that has resonated round the world, Iman al-Obaidi was seized and driven away from a Tripoli hotel after a violent melee in which plain-clothes security men and hotel staff tried to prevent the woman telling her story to foreign reporters.
Originally the regime said her complaints were being examined as part of a "normal criminal investigation" and that one of the men she accused was the son of a high ranking official. Then on Monday her mother – wearing the flag of the anti-Gaddafi opposition – said in a television interview that she had been told her daughter was being held in Muammar Gaddafi's compound and that she would be freed, and offered a house or money, if she dropped the rape complaints.
Moussa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman, said yesterday: "A legal case is being brought by the boys she accused of rape. It is a grave offence to accuse someone of a sexual offence."
The regime has accused Iman al-Obaidi of being deranged – a claim it then withdrew – drunk, and a prostitute.
Mr Ibrahim said the Attorney General had been thwarted from pursuing the investigation into Ms Obaidi's allegations because she refused to submit to a medical examination.