Eman al-Obeidy became one of the more recognizable faces of the so-called Arab Spring in March, when she burst into a Tripoli hotel and told journalists about her gang-rape at the hands of pro-Gaddafi military men, then was dragged out of the hotel and went missing for days. Now, al-Obeidy says, she has fled Libya for Tunisia.
Al-Obeidy told CNN that she crossed the Tunisian border Thursday, in disguise and with the help of a defecting military officer. In the car, she wore a head covering that obscured her entire face but for one eye. She has since been granted sanctuary in Tunisia, but is unsure of what comes next, and fears for her life.
“I still do not know what I am going to do. Of course I’d like to see my family,” she said.
Her father had expressed doubt about her safety, and feared those loyal to Gaddafi “would do the worst to her, given [Gaddafi’s] past” if they found her.
Al-Obeidy has been charged with slander against the men she accused of raping her in the two-day ordeal and has said that she has little hope of her attackers being prosecuted.
In early April, she was reached for interviews by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and by NPR.
“I have reached the end of my tolerance for this as a human,” she told Cooper via translator. She told NPR that every time she dares show her face in the street, “they treat me as a terrorist.”