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Alleged rape victim in Libya: 'My life is in danger'

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Alleged Libyan rape victim speaks out
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Eman al-Obeidy says men used rifles to sodomize her
  • NEW: She says she has tried to leave Libya, but authorities have thwarted her attempts
  • NEW: Her father begs the international community to come to his daughter's aid
  • Al-Obeidy says she was interrogated for 72 hours after being dragged from a hotel

Watch an interview with Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claims she was raped by forces loyal to Libyan leader Gadhafi, on "AC360", tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

(CNN) -- Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to tell journalists she was beaten and raped by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi last month, is no longer in custody but says she still fears for her life.

In two telephone interviews with CNN's "AC360," al-Obeidy spoke about her alleged abuse. At times in tears, at other times defiant, she recalled men pouring alcohol into her eyes and repeatedly using rifles to sodomize her. Al-Obeidy said has since been stopped trying to leave Libya and that she has nightmares.

"My life is in danger, and I call on all human rights organization ... to expose the truth and to let me leave now. I am being held hostage here," she said. "They have threatened me with death and told me I will never leave prison again, if I go to the journalists or tell them anything about what's happening in Tripoli."

Al-Obeidy said she spent 72 hours under interrogation after being dragged away from the Tripoli hotel where she tried to tell journalists about her alleged abuse.

Interrogators poured water on her face and threw food at her during the relentless questioning, which ended only after she was examined by a doctor to prove she had been raped, al-Obeidy said. "And when the test came, it verified that I was raped and tortured ... then I was freed."

She said the public statements from a state TV anchor and government officials, who initially called her mentally ill, drunk and a prostitute, have ruined her reputation. Al-Obeidy said her spirits and morale are low and that she has nightmares now.

"They did not give me a chance to respond," she said.

The attempt to discredit al-Obeidy as a promiscuous, un-Islamic woman ties into the idea of sexual shaming in a conservative Muslim society where it's commonly believed that a woman who has been raped has lost her honor, said Mona Eltahawy, a columnist on Arab and Muslim issues.

Woman alleges rape by Gadhafi forces
Libyan woman speaks out about rape
RELATED TOPICS
  • Libya
  • Moammar Gadhafi

For a woman in such a society to come forward to claim she has been raped is no small thing.

"No one would do that unless they were raped, and especially in a conservative society," Eltahawy told CNN.

Al-Obeidy burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli on March 26 while international journalists staying there were having breakfast.

She told reporters she had been taken from a checkpoint east of Tripoli, held against her will for two days and raped by 15 men.

"They had my hands tied behind me, and they had my legs tied, and they would hit me, while I was tied and bite me in my body. And they would pour alcohol in my eyes so that I would not be able to see and they would sodomize me with their rifles, and they would not let us go to the bathroom. We were not allowed to eat or drink," she told CNN's "AC360," speaking through a translator.

"One man would leave and another would enter. He would finish and then another man would come in," al-Obeidy said.

She said another woman being held captive was able to untie her hands and feet, allowing al-Obeidy to escape.

When CNN saw her in March, al-Obeidy's legs and face were bruised and she had blood on her right inner thigh. Her visible injuries appeared to support her allegations, but CNN could not independently verify her story.

Government officials tried to subdue her, scuffling with reporters in the process and eventually dragged her away.

Al-Obeidy said she is no longer in government custody and has spent time with her sister. But she said she cannot leave the house where she is staying as officials from the police or army will pursue her.

She said that when she tries to leave the house, officials chase her down and take her to a police station. But police don't know what to do with her since she is not charged with a crime, and she is released.

Al-Obeidy said she has been abducted by Gadhafi forces three times -- the first time from the hotel, the second time when she tried to escape to Tunisia last week and a third time on Sunday. She said the abduction Sunday and accompanying threats were an effort to prevent her from taking her complaints to a police investigations unit.

In spite of the danger, al-Obeidy said the most important thing to her is that her voice reaches the world.

"I would like to direct a word to all the people watching us in America that we are a peaceful people and we are not members of al Qaeda. We are a simple people and moderate Muslims -- not extremists -- and we are not asking for anything expect for our freedom and dignity and the most basic human rights which are denied to us," she said.

Her father said Monday he has still not spoken to his daughter and begged the international community to come to her aid.

"What is happening to her is wrong. What can I do? I have no power to do anything. I urge the human rights organizations and all international humanitarian movements to get involved and help us," said Atiq Al-Obeidy.

CNN's "AC360" spoke with al-Obeidy Sunday and Monday. CNN conducted a third phone interview with her Monday.

CNN's Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

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