Thursday, March 28, 2013

Women on Gaza Aid Convoy sexually assaulted in Libya

Three women, two of whom are sisters have been sexually assaulted in Benghazi, Libya. They were part of an aid convoy passing through Libya on the way to Gaza  The group is currently safe in the Turkish consul in Benghazi and is expected to return to the UK.

Libyan security officials said the attacks happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning.   The convoy had traveled through France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and then Libya, but was held up at the border by Egyptian authorities.

According to the Libya Herald:

The incident took place on Tuesday, when two groups from the aid mission, a British-Pakistani family – a father with his two daughters – and another man and a woman, decided to leave the convoy, which was being delayed at the Libyan-Egyptian border, and return to the UK.

The five took a taxi back to Benghazi but were stopped at the Sidi Al-Faraj checkpoint by members of the Libyan regular army. They were then kidnapped and taken to a farm in the Sellouk area, where at least one of the girls was sexually assaulted. Four of the kidnapped Britons managed to escape and found a local police station. The fifth was later rescued.
 It is not clear how many of the three kidnapped women were abused. It has been reported that one was raped. Deputy Prime Minister Awadh al-Barassi said in a statement released on his Facebook page that both daughters had been “brutally raped” in front of their father. “I express my very deep sorrow at what happened,” he said.
“This heinous incident does not under any circumstances reflect the genuine generosity and morality of the Libyan people or the traditions of Arab-Islamic culture,” Barassi said, “and I demand the authorities to take the necessary action.”
 The Ministry of the Interior has sent a team to investigate the case. Four Libyan soldiers have already been arrested in connection with allegations of abduction and rape and another is wanted. They are understood to be members of the First Infantry Brigade of the Libyan regular army.

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