Rape claimant 'being held at Gaddafi home'

The parents of the woman dragged by security men from a Tripoli hotel after alleging she had been raped by militiamen loyal to Muammar Gaddafi claimed today that she was being held hostage in the Libyan leader's compound.

The mother of Eman al-Obaidi said she received a call from an unidentified person purportedly representing the regime, the parents told Al Jazeera news.

The caller asked the family to tell Ms al-Obaidi to change the rape claim in return for her freedom and benefits, including a house or money, according to the victim's mother.

The government had earlier suggested that Ms al-Obaidi's complaint was the subject of a "normal criminal investigation" and that four men had been interrogated, including the son of a high-ranking state official.

The channel did not give the parents' names, or say where they were speaking from.

The woman told reporters when she burst into their hotel on Saturday that she was originally from Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya, and that was why she had been detained at a checkpoint.

She was later removed by force from the hotel after a melee between reporters and hotel staff and plain-clothes security men.

In the interview, the mother holds the Libyan opposition flag around her shoulders and says her daughter is "a hostage, taken by the tyrants".

She also pleads for help from the "youth of Tripoli". She says her daughter "broke the barrier that no other man could break" by coming forward about her rape.

- INDEPENDENT

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