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Burned Gadhafi family nanny being treated in Tripoli

By Dan Rivers, CNN Senior International Correspondent
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Burned Gadhafi family nanny gets care
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Doctors say they were bullied by Gadhafi staff into halting treatment for the nanny
  • Shwygar Mullah says Gadhafi's daughter-in-law burned her for failing to keep a child quiet
  • Her wound is dressed and she is getting antibiotics for an infection
  • CNN will let people know how to help her at CNN.com/impact

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- The badly burned former nanny of two of Moammar Gadhafi's grandchildren was receiving medical treatment Tuesday in the burn unit of a Tripoli hospital.

Shwygar Mullah says the wife of Gadhafi's son Hannibal poured boiling water on her for failing to keep a child quiet.

She is being treated with antibiotics for an infection. Her burns are dressed.

CNN first met Mullah on Sunday while visiting the luxurious former home of Hannibal Gadhafi.

As a CNN crew was about to leave, one of the staff members mentioned a nanny who worked for Hannibal Gadhafi. He said that Hannibal's wife, Aline, had burned the nanny.

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At first it looked as though the nanny was wearing a hat and something over her face. Then the crew realized that her scalp and face were covered in red wounds and scabs, a mosaic of injuries that rendered her face into a grotesque patchwork.

Even though the burns were inflicted three months ago, she clearly was still in considerable pain, but she told her story calmly.

She'd been the nanny to Hannibal's little son and daughter.

The 30-year-old came to Libya from her native Ethiopia a year ago. At first things seemed OK, but then six months into her employment she was burned by Aline, she said.

Three months later the same thing happened again, this time much more seriously.

In soft tones, she said Aline lost her temper when her daughter wouldn't stop crying and Mullah refused to beat the child.

"She took me to a bathroom. She tied my hands behind my back, and tied my feet. She taped my mouth, and she started pouring the boiling water on my head like this," she said, imitating the vessel of scalding hot water being poured over her head.

She peeled back the garment draped carefully over her body. Her chest, torso and legs are all mottled with scars -- some old, some still red, raw and weeping. As she spoke, clear liquid oozed from an open wound on her head.

After one attack, "There were maggots coming out of my head, because she had hidden me and no one had seen me," Mullah said.

Photographs show Mullah's terrible condition when she first arrived at the hospital in June -- taken by doctors who started to treat her.

They say they were bullied by Hannibal Gadhafi's staff into stopping treatment.

Hospital director Rida Franka told CNN: "After three days they came and threatened me here and said you have to discharge the case or otherwise you have a lot of problems."

Despite the threats, a guard later brought the nanny back secretly for more treatment. When the Gadhafi family found out, doctors say they were again ordered to stop treatment.

And after Aline Gadhafi found out about the kind actions of Mullah's co-worker, he was threatened with imprisonment if he dared to help her again.

"When she did all this to me, for three days, she wouldn't let me sleep," Mullah said. "I stood outside in the cold, with no food. She would say to staff, 'If anyone gives her food, I'll do the same to you.' I had no water -- nothing."

Her colleague, a man from Bangladesh who didn't want to give his name, says he was also regularly beaten and slashed with knives. He corroborated Mullah's account and said the family's dogs were treated considerably better than the staff.

Mullah was forced to watch as the dogs ate and she was left to go hungry, he said.

CNN has been inundated with offers of assistance for Mullah and is working with humanitarian organizations and medical officials to get help for her.

As soon as information is available, CNN will let people know how to help on CNN and CNN.com/impact.

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