TRIPOLI, Libya — In the latest turn in the case of Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman apprehended by security forces for trying to tell journalists that she had been raped by members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia, a government spokesman said Tuesday that the unidentified militia members she accused had filed a civil case against her.
“Oh, yeah, they have filed a case,” the spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, said. “The boys who she accused of rape are bringing a case because it is a very grave offense to accuse someone of a sexual crime.”
Journalists have been unable to learn Ms. al-Obeidy’s whereabouts since she was removed by force from the Rixos Hotel here after scuffles between security personnel, hotel staff and foreign journalists she had been trying to approach on Saturday.
Mr. Ibrahim initially described her as drunk and potentially delusional. Then, later on Saturday, he called her sober and sane. And on Sunday he termed her a prostitute and a thief.
He said that her case against the men had been dropped because she refused to submit to a medical examination, and he reiterated a promise that she would be offered a chance to speak again to the press.
The story of her treatment, covered by satellite news channels and Web sites, has riveted Libyans of all stripes. To critics of the Qaddafi government Ms. Obeidy has become the new face of its brutal tactics. Her family and tribe, based in the rebel-held east, is reportedly standing by her, bucking tradition to reject any assertion of a stain on her reputation from the alleged sexual crime. Rebels in Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, have also held rallies to support her.