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Libyan woman claiming rape is muzzled

posted 26 Mar 2011, 10:02 by Mpelembe   [ updated 26 Mar 2011, 10:04 ]
Woman bursts into Libyan hotel packed with journalists to tell story is bundled away by security guards
LIBYA-WOMAN DETAINED - This is the scene that unfolded Saturday in a Tripoli hotel packed with foreign journalists.

At the centre is a woman, Oman el Obaidi, being surrounded by security guards and hotel staff.

Minutes earlier, she had slipped into the building and claimed she had been raped by militia men loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

As she spoke with reporters, security guards shoved the woman, which led to a melee in which several journalists were beaten.

The woman said she was from the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

She claimed she was detained at a checkpoint where she was raped by 15 men and held for two days.

Her story could not be independently verified.

After the melee, el Obaidi was quickly bundled into the back of a car and taken away.

A spokesman for the Libyan government suggested the woman was mentally unstable.

LIBYAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON MUSSA IBRAHIM

"The investigators did phone me and told me that the lady is drunk, listen wait, can I finish my statement, but wait until I finish my statement and than you can ask questions, and that she seems, this is initial reports, she is suffering mentally."

Officials said el-Obaidi was being taken to a hospital.

But as she was bundled away from the hotel, she said she was bound for jail.

Andrew Raven, Reuters

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