May 19th, 2011
01:26 AM ET

Libya's al-Obeidy in exile: My soul is liberated

Doha, Qatar (CNN) - The woman whose accusations of rape at the hands of Libyan security forces sparked an international outcry has spoken exclusively to CNN, now that she is living free in exile.

Eman al-Obeidy attracted worldwide attention when she walked into a hotel lobby packed with international journalists to accuse the regime of being behind the attack.

She told CNN what it's like to have left Libya, how she has changed since the incident and what she feels about her alleged attackers.

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

Her words and fear were seen around the world as Libyan officials dragged her out of the hotel.

Speaking in Doha, Qatar, she told CNN of the moment she first felt safe:

"I felt my soul is liberated. I am able to talk what I want, live like I choose. I was living in fear and I was worried and I was tired. It was a psychological issue.

"But when I arrived to Doha, I felt comfortable as if I have forgotten all these problems that happened to me. I felt so relieved."

She added: "I think about ideas of what to do next but at this time I will relax and see my family and consult with them for the future."

Al-Obeidy traveled to Doha after escaping Libya via Tunisia, about six weeks after she first approached reporters in the Rixos.

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  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I will always believe this woman and her family were hoping for exile in the U.S. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but if you read her story from beginning to now it just doesn't ring right.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:59 am |