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Qatar Deports Alleged Libyan Rape Victim

Reut Cohen |
June 3, 2011 | 3:12 p.m. PDT

Senior Editor

Anti-Gaddafi protesters in Libya. (Al Jazeera, Creative Commons)
Anti-Gaddafi protesters in Libya. (Al Jazeera, Creative Commons)
Eman al-Obeidy, the Libyan woman who accused 15 men from Muammar Gaddafi’s military of raping and beating her in March, has been expelled from Qatar where she and her family sought refuge. Al-Obeidy, who has become a symbol of resistance, was deported by Qatari authorities to Benghazi on Thursday.

Al-Obeidy said officials in the Transitional National Council had pressured Qatar to deport her, according to CNN. She also said Qatari officials had beaten, handcuffed and forced her onto a Qatari military plane.

U.S.-based Libyan opposition activist Nasha Dawaji told CNN that al-Obeidy had arrived in Benghazi with signs of physical abuse.

"Al-Obeidy had a black eye, like she had been punched, Dawaji said. She also had bruises on her legs and scratches on her arms," CNN’s report said.

In a written statement, the Human Rights Watch, an independent NGO, criticized Qatar’s forced return of the alleged victim.

"Forcibly returning a refugee who survived gang rape not only violates international law, but is cruel and could trigger further trauma,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. "All eyes are now on the authorities in eastern Libya, who should allow al-‘Obeidy to leave the country."

In March Al-Obeidy attempted to tell foreign journalists staying at a Tripoli hotel that she had been beaten and raped for two days. Libyan officials and state-run television attempted to discredit al-Obeidy by suggesting that she was a prostitute, drunk, and mentally unstable.

 

Correction: The article has been corrected to reflect that Human Rights Watch is an independent, non-government organization and not part of the United Nations.



 

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