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Alleged Libyan rape victim says she lives in constant fear

From Frederik Pleitgen and Kareem Khadder, CNN
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CNN exclusive: Eman al-Obeidy interview
  • Eman al-Obeidy tells CNN she is harassed by authorities, fears retribution and feels defeated
  • She says she was raped and beaten by Gadhafi's men
  • The world first knew of al-Obeidy when she burst into a Tripoli hotel housing journalists

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who alleges rape and abuse by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's security forces, said Thursday she feels defeated and lives in fear that she will be punished gravely for her words.

The legal proceedings in her rape case have not gone far, she told CNN. She has not been able to go home, either.

"I usually get harassed when I have to show my Identification card to government officials somewhere and they find out who I am and that I have put complaints forward against Gadhafi's people," she said in an interview conducted in a car.

"They humiliate me to the point where other people gather around and start saying that it is shameful to treat a Libyan woman that way," she said. "It is the same thing every day."

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  • Moammar Gadhafi

She said her only request now is permission to go home to Tobruk, to see her parents.

"I am very tired and upset and feel defeated, oppressed, and upset," she said. "Even I felt sometimes of committing suicide from the injustice I am going through."

Al-Obeidy burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli on March 26 while international journalists staying there were having breakfast. She told reporters she had been taken from a checkpoint east of Tripoli and held against her will for two days while being beaten and raped by 15 men.

When CNN saw her earlier this month, al-Obeidy's legs and face were bruised and she had blood on her right inner thigh. Her visible injuries appeared to support her allegations.

Human Rights Watch has called for Libyan authorities to immediately allow al-Obeidy to leave Tripoli and receive medical care. Nadya Khalife, a women's rights researcher for the organization, said authorities have further victimized al-Obeidy by refusing to allow her to leave.

"It's very difficult for women in Libyan society to report that they have been raped because of the shame and fear they feel, and it has been even more difficult for al-Obeidy," Khalife said. "But she has courageously ignored all these barriers to tell her story to the world."

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