BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – A Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to show journalists injuries she blamed on Muammar Gaddafi’s militia was first targeted by the authorities after a protest, her cousin said yesterday.
Eman al-Obaidi entered a hotel where foreign journalists were staying on Saturday to show bruises and scars she said were caused by militiamen. She was hurried out of the hotel by security men and hotel staff and bundled into a car.
Government officials in the capital first said Obaidi was either drunk or mentally ill. Later, another official suggested she was a prostitute.
Yesterday, the government appeared to backtrack on its earlier remarks, saying she had been released.
“It’s a criminal case against four individuals. She is with her family. It’s an honour related case,” said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim.
Wadad Omar, who said she was her cousin, said Obaidi was originally from east Libya and was first arrested after taking part in a protest in the early days of the uprising in the western city of Zawiyah. The revolt in Libya erupted in mid-February.
Omar said Obaidi was detained on her way back from Zawiyah to Tripoli, along with other women with her at that protest.
“There were other lawyers with her, and we don’t have any information about them,” Omar said, naming the three other women arrested as Naimaa, Amal, and Mona.
Omar said Obaidi was from the eastern city of Tobruk and was working for a tourism company in Tripoli when she was arrested.