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April 7th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Gadhafi's son arranges CNN interview with Al-Obeidy

Nic Robertson
CNN

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 and Gadhafi met privately before our interview, the first time the two had met. Gadhafi appeared shocked afterward. He commented on her strong character and willingness to challenge him when they disagreed.

He and his press assistant sat in on the 30-minute CNN meeting. Some of the time, we were alone with her.

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."

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. tanya

    if this happened in saudi arabia the men who were suspects would be hanged until death in front of 100's on the street it wont matter wether they are govn. officials ,,,,policemen,,,,or even a begger i respect saudi arabia for this n i love my birth place

    April 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm |