Libyan Who Charged Rape Vanishes

Authorities claim Iman al-Obeidi was returned to family
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 1:40 AM CDT
Updated Mar 28, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
Libyan Who Charged Rape Vanishes
Iman Obeidi shrinks from authorities and hotel workers in Tripoli as reporters try to protect her after she recounted her rape.   (AP)

A Libyan woman who accused Moammar Gadhafi's vigilantes of raping her has vanished. Libyan authorities beat and hauled Iman al-Obeidi away after she told a gathering of foreign reporters at a Tripoli hotel Saturday about a horrific attack by 15 men. Authorities insist the woman, whom they identified as a mentally ill prostitute, was safely released to her family, but Western reporters have been unable to locate her, reports the Los Angeles Times. "This is her line of work," said an official. "She knows the boys for years. She goes out with them for business. She has a whole file of petty theft and prostitution."

But friends and relatives said Obeidi, a native of Benghazi, was a lawyer or law student. She showed reporters deep scratches and bruises, and said she was hauled off last week at a checkpoint to a prison where she was raped repeatedly. "They swore at me and they filmed me," she told journalists. Her case has galvanized Libyans. "Everyone is talking about it, but no one can talk," said one man. "We all believe her." Click for more. (More Libya stories.)

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