EU foreign policy High Representative Catherine Ashton is urged in a letter from MEPs today to “demand the immediate and verified release” of Ms Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan who entered Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel on 26 March to tell foreign journalists she had been gang-raped and beaten by pro-Gaddaffi militiamen, but was seized by security men.
“The brutal way in which Ms Eman al-Obeidy was prevented from recounting her story to foreign journalists, pushed into a car and driven to an unknown location, is outrageous. Eman al-Obeidy must be immediately freed and her release must be verified by independent sources”, said standing rapporteur on the EU-Libya framework agreement Ana Gomes (S&D, PT).
“I admire the courage of this woman to speak out loud despite the risks. The EU cannot let her go missing. This case is emblematic of the situation of dissident women in Libya”, added Ms Gomes, stressing that “respect for women’s rights must be a crucial pillar in the construction of a new democratic Libyan state”.
Ms al-Obeidy said that she had been arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli because she was from the city of Benghazi, the bastion of the insurgency against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, and had been raped by 15 men and tortured whilst detained for two days. She was badly bruised.
The letter to High Representative Ashton was signed by Ms Gomes, Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee Chair Eva-Britt Svensson (GUE-NGL, SE), and Human Rights Sub-Committee Chair Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, FI).