Libya: Where is Eman Al Obeidy?

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

“Where is Eman Al Obeidy?” has become a pressing question, after a distraught Libyan woman burst into a Tripoli hotel full of foreign journalists, telling then that scars and bruises on her face and body has been inflicted by 15 Muammar Gaddafi's militia, who arrested her at a checkpoint for two days, where they gang raped her.

The harrowing details of the story and Al Obeidy cry for help have been covered by the Press and are being tweeted, as the world awaits to hear where the woman is, after security bundled her out of the hotel, into a car, which took her to an undisclosed location.

The Telegraph posts a video here and on Twitter, CNN‘s Nic Robertson shares the details of what happened this morning.

Twitter user @finali curates Robertson's tweets here:

— 8 tweets from Nic below: –

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Sm journalists tried to protect her, challenging officials about where they taking her but they drove off with her in white car.
6 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Clarify'g earlier tweet: bag/cloth thrown over her head, they took her into back garden, then bundled out hotel front door w/out bag/cloth
8 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Govt officls claimd she was “mentally ill” & being taken to “a hospital.” She managed to shout out they were taking her to jail.
23 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Govt offcls threw bag/cloth over woman's head, bundled her, kicking & screaming, out of hotel and into van.
24 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
CNN camera violently snatchd, systemtclly smashd to pieces & video footage stolen. Some journlsts beaten in blatant disply of regime thuggry
26 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Waitress threatnd her w/knife, calling her “traitor.” Govt offcls began beating journlsts trying to interview her.
29 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
CNN cameraman on scene said she showed journalsts bruises, scratches on thighs, bruised face, rope burns on wrists & ankles
37 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Within mins of beginning to tell her story, govt officls and hotel staff moved in to shut her up.
41 minutes ago

NicRobertsonCNN Nic Robertson
Woman came into restaurant of journalists’ hotel today claiming she’d been detained at govt chkpt, held 2 days, tied up, beaten and raped.
42 minutes ago

Robertson continues that the CNN‘s camera was also smashed – and the footage taken; that journalists who demanded to see her were told by officials that they did not know who took her or where she was; and that a Libyan official said they would investigate the incident and let the Press know about her.

Here are some more reactions from Twitter:

@SultanAlQassemi: Gaddafi thugs drag woman who cried for help in Tripoli hotel live in front of cameras Video via @NicRobertsonCNN #Libya

@FromJoanne: The only journalist able to speak with #Libya woman at lenght (held 2days Raped By 15 men)was MichaelGeorgy&Reuters”

@hindhassan: NYT article: FT reporter Charles Clover deported afterwards for trying 2 protect #Eman Al-Obeidi &'inaccurate’ reports

@RuwaydaMustafah: Let's get #WhereisEmanAlObeidy to be TT. cc @mouita @monaeltahawy @Sarahngb @3arabawy @JustAmira @SultanAlQassemi

@UnitedLibya: I wonder if there is a connection between eman al obeidi and abdulfateh younis al obeidi #gaddafi former no 2 and now with opposition

@SamSeyffert: @hrw Has HRW issued a formal request to the Gaddafi regime for the release of Eman Al Obaidi?

@libyafidammi: @hrw @amnesty Pls help us keep Eman #AlObaidi alive, keep her name on your watch list otherwise #Gaddafi regime will execute her #Libya

@niiRjaraA: Where r the Arab intellectual, societal leaders(?), common man-they took Eman's dignity stand up and demand her immmediate releasse #Libya

@thisisfifi: Shame on whoever silently watched #Eman ElObaidi crying 4 help and 4 her story 2 B heard…Thnk God 4 western journalist in #Libya

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.


  • i think arab leaders nowaday are bloodsuckers . They use their country wealth blatantly and short thinking kind of leaders. I hope arab unite and take their past glory .

  • […] Global Voices has a collection of Nic Robertson’s tweets on al-Obeidy here. […]

  • […] i fatti, commentandoli, il New York Times, Reuters, Guardian, New York Magazine, Global Voices e Telegraph. In italia solamente il Corriere della Sera pubblica il video, senza commento e [non è […]

  • […] Eman Al Obeidy burst into a hotel dining room in Tripoli, Libya, on Saturday, and struggled to tell the story of how she’d been raped and beaten, for two days, by Qaddafi’s forces. She was then attacked, in the hotel dining room, and carried out. Journalists present were disturbed, as much by the treatment they witnessed as by Al Obeidy’s account. The latest report suggests that she is being held hostage at Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli. […]

  • Alicia

    I have watched the video footage over and over again. I certainly understand that the journalists are there to report a story, spread the \word\ to those of us sitting comfortably in our homes in the U.S, Europe, etc. However, at WHAT POINT does one put the camera down, drop the quest for ratings and help a fellow human being. I noticed only one journalist physically putting himself between Eman and Qaddafi’s thugs. What I do notice is the blond camera woman practically jumping up and down to get the story. If every journalist in that room would have made an effort as did that one man, perhaps this woman would have stood a chance. Ratings vs. helping a fellow human being. Is this really a debate???

    • Jenna

      In response to Alicia…. if everyone had tried to help (instead of filming) and were still unsuccessful…we’d only be reading about it, not watching the event being blasted all over the world. Someone had to film it.

      I went to New Orleans after Katrina hit and I went to document animal rescue efforts, but when I got there I chose to help instead. There were other people there who were documenting so I knew if I didn’t, it was still being captured. It didn’t seem to me like there were too many people filming the day Eman al-Obeidy came in to speak to the reporters. (We keep watching the same footage from the same perspective over and over). I think it was crucial someone filmed it- it is more proof to what is happening over there and what Gadhafi and his troops are capable of. Maybe now there can be a global response and global pressure that hasn’t been there before.

      I did wonder why the press weren’t more physical and demanding in trying to help her but I’m not there and I’m not experiencing first hand the danger of being there. Perhaps the reporters were afraid of what might happen to them as well.

      Right or wrong- I believe the filming had to happen. We all had to see this because it has been happening all along with no one filming it.

      There is no doubt it was filmed for ratings, but in the end it’s more than that.

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