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War propaganda: mass rapes in Libya

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Though frequently founded, mass rape accusations can also be used as a propaganda tool.

As it happens, a lie of this nature has been painstakingly fabricated by NATO against Colonel Gaddafi. Let’s look at the timeline:

On 29 March 2011, 29 year-old Iman al-Obeidi burst into the lobby of the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli filled with western journalists. She assured them that she had been stopped two days earlier at a check point, then sequestered and raped by 15 pro-Gaddafi men. She showed her injuries to journalists from the New York Times and Reuters before being dragged out of the hotel by security forces. The young woman quickly became an icon, capturing hearts and headlines the world over. Finally, on 5 May she left Libya via Tunisia with the help of French secret agents. She first went to Qatar, then to the United States where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged for her to be granted political asylum.

- Dr. Salwa Fawzi El-Deghali, a lawyer who is Libya’s National Transitional Council representative of youth and women, claims to have posted thousands of questionnaires to women in Cyrenaica and to have received 259 testimonies from rape victims.

- On 28 April, at a closed-door Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice alleged that Colonel Gaddafi had Viagra pills distributed to his troops to encourage them to engage in mass rape against the rebels.

- At a press conference held on 8 June 2011 at the UN in Geneva, International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that he may ask for a new charge of mass rape to be made against Gaddafi, adding that he had information "to confirm that it was a policy in Libya to rape those who were against the Government". Moreover, as reported by the UN Information Center, "investigators with the International Criminal Court (ICC) are gathering evidence that the Libyan leadership is using rape as a tool of war and repression and had even acquired large quantities of drugs for its soldiers in an apparent bid to make them more likely to commit sexual assault, the court’s prosecutor said today."

However, Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, Chairman of the UN (not ICC) Human Rights Council Libya Inquiry Commission, has cast doubt on the ICC prosecutor’s accusations. He pointed out that his delegation was apprised of these allegations during its visit to Benghazi. Thereupon, he asked Dr. Salwa Fawzi El-Deghali for a copy of the questionnaire and of the 259 replies which have yet to reach him. In addition, he underscored the implausibility of this account insofar as no postal service has been functioning since the beginning of the rebellion.

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