Meet… Iman Al-Obeidi

Last night, in discussions over tea I learned about Iman Al-Obeidi. She is a  young Libyan woman who is largely regarded a hero around the world based on her courageous cry for help to foreign journalists at Rixos hotel on March 26, 2011. She appeared at the hotel in Tripoli crying for help and shouting that Gaddafi forces gang raped her – she stated she was tied up, raped, urinated and defecated on by 15 men. She had broad bruises on her face and body, as well as rope impressions and marks around her wrists that were sited in her short appearance at Rixos hotel. After some discussion with journalists, she was then quickly recaptured by Gaddafi loyalists, with a table cloth thrown over her head and she was taken away by car to an unknown location. She was originally targeted for being from Benghazi, a (pro-democracy) rebel held city. Nobody knows what has happened with her – but the Libyan state is attempting to smear her reputation and discredit her cry for help. Below are links that explain the story in more detail. I am hoping to spread awareness regarding this incident of sexual abuse, as it is, in my opinion one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. In the same day, I found that the International Criminal Courts  for the former Yugoslavia, ruled yesterday to sentence three male ethnic Serb’s for their widespread abuse of Bosnian Muslim women and young girls in multiple rape camps during the early 1990’s.

This case represents a significant advance in the international law pertaining to the treatment of sexual violence in wartime.  First, the decision demonstrates that rape will not be accepted as an intrinsic part of war.  Rather, it is a crime against humanity and may constitute torture. The Tribunal sent a message that it would prosecute cases of sexual violence vigorously. 

– The American Society of International Law

The precedent was set  that rape is a crime against humanity, second only to genocide.

Libyan woman tells of abuse – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Human Rights Watch Report

Free Iman Facebook Page

“Protect Iman” Petition