UK pro-Palestinian activists raped in Libya: deputy PM

AFP, TRIPOLI

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 - Page 6

Two British activists with a humanitarian convoy destined for the Gaza Strip were subjected to a brutal gang rape by five men in Benghazi, Libya, Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Awadh al-Barassi said on Thursday.

The two women of Pakistani origin “were brutally raped in front of their father,” the deputy prime minister said on his Facebook page, condemning “a horrible act.”

Al-Barassi said he had been to see the two victims in Benghazi on Thursday, and that the family was “in a very bad psychological state.”

The women, accompanied by their father, were with the convoy destined for the Palestinian coastal enclave blockaded by Israel when it was blocked from leaving Libya and entering Egypt.

The three decided to return to Benghazi accompanied by two more Britons, with the aim of getting a flight home, but when they arrived in Libya’s second city, they were abducted by five unidentified men.

A Western diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that the group had been abducted, but was unable to say whether the women had been sexually assaulted or raped, pending medical reports.

The diplomatic source also said there had been arrests in the case, without specifying how many.

Another source said the family was now being looked after at the Turkish consulate in Benghazi.