Woman cries for help, says militiamen abused her

A Ministry of Information official (left) yells at the press to stop filming as he  grabs Eman al-Obeidi, who said she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli and was sexually assaulted by up to 15 men while in custody,  in Tripoli on Saturday. AP

As reporters gathered to hear her story, security guards grabbed the woman, bundled her into a car and drove her away following a brawl in which several journalists were beaten.

The woman, Eman al-Obaidi, said she was arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli because she is from the city of Benghazi, the bastion of a rebel insurgency against Gadhafi’s rule.

“They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whiskey. I was tied up,” she said, weeping and stretching out her arms to show scars.

Her face was heavily bruised and her upper right thigh had blood on it. “They peed on me. They violated my honour,” said Obaid. Obaidi said she had been raped by 15 men and held for two days at the checkpoint.

Her story could not be independently verified. It was unclear whether she had escaped or had been released.

“I am not scared of anything. I will be locked up immediately after this,” Obaidi shouted. “Look at my face. Look at my back. All of my body is bruised.”

One of the government minders attached to foreign journalists said the woman was drunk.

As she spoke, crying and shaking, hotel staff and plainclothes security men tried to push and intimidate her. She ran from one table to another in the hotel restaurant.

In the ensuing scuffle, one hotel staff member grabbed a table knife and yelled: “You traitor. How dare you say that?”

A man in civilian clothes took out a gun. A foreign journalist who was trying to get away from the scene with a camera on which he had recorded footage of the scuffle was thrown to the ground and kicked.Obaidi was eventually forced into a garden outside the hotel. Journalists trying to get to her were pushed away.

“Leave me alone,” she shouted from the garden as one man tried to cover her mouth with his hand.

She was then dragged to a parking lot and bundled into a white car. Security men said they were taking her to hospital. “They are taking me to jail,” she yelled, trying to resist the security guards.

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