Five women who were part of Col. Moammar Gaddafi’s elite team of female bodyguards say they were raped and abused by the now fugitive Libyan leader.
The Sunday Times of Malta reports that the former bodyguards said Gaddafi and his sons raped and abused them and then discarded the women once the men became “bored” with them.
Benghazi-based psychologist Seham Sergewa has collected the details for use by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is investigating possible war crimes by Gaddafi and his associates.
Gaddafi has kept a cadre of about 30 women, known as his Amazonian guard, close by his side since the early 1970s. At times, the women took bullets for Gaddafi — one woman died and two were injured when the Libyan leader was attacked in 1998.
The strongman asked his female bodyguards not only for their protection but also for oaths of virginity, and that they be dressed in camouflage, nail polish, coiffed hair, and heavy mascara.
One woman told the Sunday Malta Times she was blackmailed into joining the unit after the regime told her that her brother had been smuggling drugs into Libya and she would go to jail unless she agreed to join the brigade.
“A pattern emerged in the stories,” the Times reports. “The women would be first raped by the dictator and then passed on, like used objects, to one of his sons and eventually to high-ranking officials for more abuse before eventually being let go.”
Sergewa is also investigating claims that Gaddafi soldiers systematically raped women during the conflict. Some women have come forward saying they were raped by as many as 20 soldiers at a time.
“In one case, a girl, around 18 or so, said she was raped in front of her father. She kept telling him not to look at her,” Sergewa said.
Other victims have committed suicide or were contemplating it.
New reports show that the violence against women may extend to Gaddafi’s son Hannibel and wife Aline Skaf, as well. At Gaddafi’s seaside homes, CNN discovered that Hannibel’s nanny had been beaten, starved, and repeatedly burned. Watch the graphic video of Hannibel’s nanny here.
Since June, many Libyan women have also been asked to join the armed forces to fight against the rebels.
“We are going to make sure that every mother, the symbol of love and creation, is a bomb, a killing machine,” government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said.
See more photos of the female bodyguards below, or in our photo gallery.