Iman al-Obaidi, the woman who stunned journalists when she burst into a hotel in Libya and claimed she had been raped by men loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, has been released from custody, NPR and CNN report. Al-Obaidi has spoken to reporters from both organizations by phone, though no visual confirmation has been given of her freedom.
She told NPR that she was held for 72 hours and released, but that she has been ‘beaten every day,’ so severely that she could not get out of bed Monday. The Libyan government has repeatedly denied al-Obaidi’s claims and said it will be pursuing slander charges against her.
In a dramatic scene March 26, al-Obaidi ran into a hotel in Tripoli. Screaming and crying, she fought off hotel employees as she told reporters she had been tortured and raped repeatedly by militiamen. The Post could not independently confirm her story.
On Sunday, journalists had been promised interviews with al-Obaidi, but then were told they would no longer be able to speak to her. Reporting in Libya has become reporting in a gilded cage, Liz Sly reported on Monday in the Post:
And so the days pass in the Big Brother world of the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, where foreign journalists are obliged by the government to stay in conditions that can best be described as luxury imprisonment. There are whirlpool bathtubs in every room, a sumptuous spa and guards armed with Kalashnikovs posted at the gate.