FIDH calls for investigation into rape allegations and release of complainant

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses its deep concern about the case of Ms. Iman Al-Obaidi, a lawyer, from Benghazi. On Saturday 25th of March 2011, Ms. Iman Al-Obaidi declared in the presence of journalists that she had been beaten and raped by security forces agents in Tripoli. She reported that other women who may still be in detention were also victims of rape. Ms Al-Obaidi showed the journalists marks of injury.

While she was testifying in Hotel Rixos, Tripoli, Ms. Al-Obaidi was forced into a car and driven away. Several journalists who tried to intervene to protect her, were beaten. Since her arrest, government spokespersons have made several contradictory statements on her case. On 28th of March, the spokesperson stated that the authorities were still questioning her to determine the circumstances and added that she could be accused of defamation against the security forces. Today, according to the information received, Ms. Al Obaidi is still in custody.

FIDH calls on the Libyan authorities to guarantee the psychological and physical integrity of Iman Al-Obaidi and to immediately release her, as well as to set up an independent and effective investigation into her case.

The Secretary general of the FIDH, Khadija Cherif, declared : « we are extremely concerned about these allegations of rape and threats of rape against women suspected of supporting the rebels. We urge the International Commission of Inquiry of the Human Rights Council to immediately include in the investigations allegations of rapes by all parties. I am afraid that this is the only option at hand to prevent the potential spreading of violence against women while the conflict lasts. »

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