The moment a woman was arrested as she tried to tell the world about her gang rape at the hands of Gaddafi's troops

A desperate plea for more help from the world was made yesterday by a woman who burst into a Press briefing to claim she had been gang-raped for two days by 15 of Gaddafi’s henchmen.
She defied government minders to storm into a hotel in the heart of Tripoli to tell her ordeal to foreign journalists – and the television pictures have gone around the world.
As these dramatic images show, Iman al-Obeidi wept as she told how Gaddafi’s troops had held her at gunpoint at a checkpoint, tied her up, then led her away to be raped by 15 men over two days.
Distraught: Iman Al-Obeidi, claimed she had been gang-raped by Gaddafi's troops and detained for two days
Distraught: Iman Al-Obeidi, claimed she had been gang-raped by Gaddafi's troops and detained for two days

Financial Times journalist Charles Clover, centre, attempts to stop a Libya Ministry of Information official from grabbing Iman Al-Obeidi. She alleges she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli

Financial Times journalist Charles Clover, centre, attempts to stop a Libya Ministry of Information official from grabbing Iman Al-Obeidi. She alleges she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli
A Ministry of Information official grabs hold of the woman to try and stop her from speaking to foreign journalists about an alleged attack she suffered

A Ministry of Information official grabs hold of the woman to try and stop her from speaking to foreign journalists about an alleged attack she suffered
Her story could not be independently verified, but the dramatic scene provided a rare first-hand glimpse of the brutal crackdown on public dissent by Gaddafi's regime as the Libyan leader fights a rebellion against his rule that began last month.
Her face scratched and bruised, she said she had been singled out because she had connections in the rebel-held city of Benghazi. At one point, she lifted up her black robe to show a bloody thigh.
Waiters called her a traitor and told her to shut up. She retorted: 'Easterners - we're all Libyan brothers, we are supposed to be treated the same, but this is what the Gaddafi militiamen did to me, they violated my honour.'
Government minders threw punches and a waitress brandished a butter knife as they tried to drag her away, and several journalists were embroiled in the fracas.
Before she was bundled out into a car, al-Obeidi said with tears streaming down her face: ‘They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up.
‘They violated my honour. Look at what the Gaddafi militiamen did to me.
‘As soon as I leave here they will take me right to jail.’
Al-Obeidi, circled, is grabbed by hotel staff and government officials who try and stop her from talking
Al-Obeidi, circled, is grabbed by hotel staff and government officials who try and stop her from talking

One of the hotel staff put a coat over Al-Obeidi's head as someone else holds her down
One of the hotel staff put a coat over Al-Obeidi's head as someone else holds her down

Struggle: Al Obeidi is overpowered by those trying to stop her from talking about her ordeal
Struggle: Al Obeidi is overpowered by those trying to stop her from talking about her ordeal
Journalists who tried to intervene to protect the woman were pushed out of the way by minders.
Channel 4 News foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller said he had been assaulted trying to defend the woman.
‘I was punched, violently pushed backwards over a chair and pushed to the floor,’ he said.
‘In seeking to keep her away from the media, the minders not only came after her but the journalists too.’
A CNN camera was also smashed on the ground and ripped to pieces by the government minders.
Help me: Eventually the minders overpowered the woman and led her outside, shoving her into a car that sped away. Al-Obeidi kept crying that she was certain she would be thrown in jail
Help me: Eventually the minders overpowered the woman and led her outside, shoving her into a car that sped away. Al-Obeidi kept crying that she was certain she would be thrown in jail

Devastated: Al-Obeidi urged photographers to take her picture before she was led away by officials. They later claimed that she had mental health problems
Devastated: Al-Obeidi urged photographers to take her picture before she was led away by officials. They later claimed that she had mental health problems

 
At a hastily arranged press conference after the incident, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said investigators had told him the woman was drunk and possibly mentally challenged.
‘We have to find her family and see if she was really abused or not,’ he said.
Tensions have been rising between foreign reporters in the Libyan capital and the government minders who have sought to tightly control what they see and whom they talk to.
Most of the international press corps is being housed at the Rixos hotel.

 
 
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