Iman al-Obaidi, the Libyan woman who grabbed the world’s attention after she told a room of international journalists she was raped by military forces, was finally able to leave Libya last week, fleeing to Tunisia.
Obaidi was detained and later released by Moammar Gaddafi’s regime after she told journalists assembled in a Tripoli hotel that she was gang-raped by government troops. “I was tied up. They defecated on me. They urinated on me. They violated my honor,” she said to the reporters in March.
She described her recent escape from Libya to CNN, saying she was driven by two defecting military officers to the Tunisian border cloaked in a traditional head covering, leaving just one eye visible. Although the journey went off without disruption, she said it was “very tiring.” She was taken from a safehouse on the border to the French embassy in Tunis by European diplomats. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly taken an interest in her safety.
For obvious reasons, Obaidi seemed more relaxed than she had previously appeared, but she’s still concerned about being followed by government forces. She also wonders whether she can return to Libya to see her family again.
In an April interview with CNN, Obeidi said she had received death threats and was afraid for her life.