March 28th, 2011
05:42 PM ET

Libyan woman who alleged rape remains hidden from world

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/WORLD/africa/03/28/libya.beaten.woman/t1larg.eman.al.obeidy.pool.jpg caption="Eman al-Obeidy burst into a hotel Saturday, saying she had been raped for two days by Moammar Gadhafi's brigades." width=300 height=169]CNN Wire Staff

She burst into a Tripoli, Libya, hotel over the weekend, pleading with journalists to tell the world that she was raped by government troops. As security forces subdued the screaming woman and dragged her away, she warned, "If you don't see me tomorrow, then that's it."

Two days later, reporters have not seen Eman al-Obeidy.

The same government that took her away is insisting she is fine. But reporters and human rights activists have not been able to see her, and her whereabouts are unclear.

"I am not ashamed of my daughter," al-Obeidy's mother told Al-Jazeera television Monday. "I am proud of her because she has broken the barrier. She broke the barrier that no man can break. And those dogs there with him, Moammar, (are) the criminals!"

Al-Obeidy's family said she is a lawyer - and not a prostitute or mentally ill as Libyan government officials initially said after the incident. The government later changed its story, saying she was sane and was pursuing a criminal case.

Al-Obeidy's family said they were offered money if she would change her story.

"Yesterday late at night at 3 a.m. they called me from Bab al Aziziya," Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, al-Obeidy's mother told Al-Jazeera. "And they told me: Make your daughter Eman change her statement ... and we will release her immediately and whatever you ask for you will get, whether money, or a new apartment, or guaranteeing financial security for you and your children. But just tell Eman to change her statement."

"I called my daughter and said, 'My daughter, stand firm! Stand firm!' She said, 'I will stand firm and I will never change my statement.' "

It was not clear how al-Obeidy's mother reached her by phone.

A government spokesman said Sunday that al-Obeidy had been released and was "with her family."

A group of lawyers and human rights activists tried to approach her sister's house Monday, but were blocked by security forces. Al-Obeidy's sister's mobile phone has apparently been turned off, a source with the Lebanese opposition in Tripoli told CNN. And no one has seen the sister since the incident at the hotel.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Middle East
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Tamara

    What amazing bravery!! This woman is so incredibly courageous, please continue to search for her and cover her story. We pray for her safety & for others there suffering.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Betsy Siwula-Brandt

    To CNN
    THANK YOU for trying to find this woman. PLEASE keep trying, do not forget her. She is extraordinary, precedent breaking and strong woman to make her voice heard. She represents so many women who can't speak of the unspeakable. My heart cries for her. What have they done to her? We cannot forget her bravery, ever.

    March 31, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  3. JB


    I believe the only way this heroic woman will ever receive any true justice is if Ghadaffi is either removed or "eliminated." Preferably, the latter of the two in order to avoid a very similar thing which happened with a guy named Saddam Hussein.

    This "no fly" situation is quickly becoming a guise for a de facto pro-Libyan-Rebel war. “Decapitating" this brutal dictatorship by taking out Ghadaffi is the only reasonable strategy if we want any chance of avoiding a protracted U.S. military “quasi-intervention.”

    Jeff B. – SLC, Utah

    March 29, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  4. Emy

    Gaddafi needs to go, the atrocities he has bestowed on the people of his country is appalling. Hoping Eman is fine but I'm afraid she's suffering her horrific ordeal all over again. If the Libyan Gov was true to their word, then the would show her on TV in good condition. Now the whole world knows and I hope the news media will not let this story die down.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Beth

    Thank you for staying on this story.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  6. susan tarek ali

    this one of many crimes that gaddafi and his forces did we should stop him libyan people are so peaceful all they wanna is freedom and they pay for it really they are so brave please support them

    March 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  7. Carmen Acosta


    I am very troubled about this woman's plight. I am praying for her and hope that she will be released in good condition very soon.

    However, I wish there was something we could all do to help her. Please let us know.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  8. bettie

    Such a disgrace,shame on Libya. She may have been raped physically, but she will never be raped of her right to to tell her story Imagine how many more women this has happened to, who had no voice.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Mike

    I have been following this particular story and have been glued to my media outlet and those henchmen should be shameful along with the two women who acted on behalf of those men in that hotel! I am shocked to have seen this happen! That woman should have had the right to speak to the media about what is going on in Tripoli, Libya! The world, including myself will continue to watch what happens to this young lady!

    March 29, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  10. Mike

    I totally agree with AnneMarie. Those men had no right whatsoever to touch that woman inside that hotel in Tripoli! I do believe that she has been murdered due to her outbursts and cries for the world to save her and others who are in her position. It is very devastating that Libya has a lack of control of the government's military!

    March 29, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  11. Paola Buitron

    Thank you AC for keeping this story alive...

    March 29, 2011 at 1:07 am |
  12. Silvana

    This woman needs help and she needs it now. I feel certain she is enduring the same horrific experience all over again, only this time who knows what the extent of torture will be. There are going to be consequences for this poor woman who bravely spoke out to the world. I have no doubt she will be used as an example to others who dare stand up against this sadistic megalomaniac leader Gaddafi. How can we intervene? How can we save those who are in the hands of this mad man? These are questions we need to act upon today.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  13. Jill Beverly

    Watching this beyond brave woman emerge from the silenced world of the Arab female sends chills throughout ones body. Knowing what horrific consequences most likely lie ahead for her is tragic. I believe her story will never be forgotten. I pray she is alive and that the world will see her again but she most likely is now a Martyr.

    March 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  14. Sheila Fugere

    Gadafhi and his henchmen are a bunch of sadistic psychopaths. I hope with all my heart that Eman recieves justice and that she makes it home to her family. I wish Eman and all of the oppisition peace,freedom and happiness. They are in my heart and in my prayers.

    March 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  15. n

    Where are the women's rights groups? Why isn't the coalition looking for this woman? It took a lot of courage for Eman to speak out. If this woman is lost, it's one too many.

    March 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  16. Ron Anderson

    Where were all of the "brave" journalist who did not lift a hand to help this defenseless woman? Why did not one person try to help her..they all let the Khadafi punks push them aside and I did not see anyone step in to help!Is this what "great" journalist do?

    March 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  17. Bob

    I hope that Gadhafi is captured and will stand trial for crimes such as this one that he committed against this poor woman... Gadhafi should also stand trial for the murder of thousands and thousands of people... Gadhafi should also stand trial for the torture against thousands and thousands of people...
    We will only know all of Gadhafi's crimes, when Gadhafi stand trial....

    March 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  18. Annemarie

    Fantastic! Great to hear.They had no right to touch her nor to interfere with her freedom of speech. She is so brave for speaking out! I am so impressed with her courage! It takes a brave woman to speak in an oppressive regime when she knows that it may cost her life. If anything happens to that woman I will be devastated.Eman, wherever you are know that we believe you and honor you.

    March 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  19. paul panarese

    of course no-one has seen eman, she has been taken away by gahafi's henchmen, thats how he,gahafi treats his people, their not his people. they might live in the country, but dictators do not own the people. gahafi should be taken out, why the indecision, come on, how many people does he get to kill before the world comunity takes action to neutralize this evil menace..call it what it is genocide. this is one world-one planet. waste the fool. paul

    March 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  20. Dee

    Great that she has friends who can sue Rixos Hotels. She needed their help and they failed and abused and threatened her. Thankfully you have evidence. How long will it take Rixos is a group of hotels so perhaps it can be heard in another country. Can't you sue Gadafi or add to his war crimes?

    March 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  21. mike

    An amazingly brave woman who took the initiative and made her dreadful situation known to the world. The response from the authorities was predictable. Americas actions in concert with the coalition forces will change the political complexion of this region. The brutality of the regime will be swept aside.
    Let us hope this woman's actions will galvanise the forces of liberation.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  22. Sue

    What a courageous woman who wants the world to know and see what is happening, thanks to CNN. Please track her down and keep us updated about this touching story.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  23. Ellen

    Hope that girl is safe, The Gadhafi speaker said she has been returned to her parents, and the parents deny that lying statement. They said they have not seen her. Just another lie from the Liianian killers.

    March 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  24. ADAM

    A civil law suit against Rixos Hotel chain based in Turkey is currently being pursued on behalf of Eman Obedi who was physically attacked by the staff of that hotel.The attorney will be seeking compensatory damages on her behalf.

    March 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

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