Who Do You Believe, Iman al-Obeidi or Musa Ibrahim?

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March 30 2011 2:32 PM

Who Do You Believe, Iman al-Obeidi or Musa Ibrahim?

The case of Iman al-Obeidi keeps getting stranger and stranger. The Libyan woman, who over the weekend charged into a hotel housing international journalists and-looking disheveled and injured-claimed she had been raped by Libyan soldiers, has apparently been released after not being seen since Saturday, when she was forcefully dragged away from the hotel.

She’s probably not resting easy, though. Government spokesman Musa Ibrahim, who seems to be a direct descendant of Iraq’s " Baghdad Bob ," first claimed that Obeidi was drunk and delusional . Then, perhaps to make it look like she was being devious, he said she was "sane and sober." By Sunday, he was calling her a "prostitute and a thief" and said that "her case against the men had been dropped because she refused to submit to a medical examination."

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When Ibrahim announced the civil suit, he was quoted as saying "It's a very grave offense to accuse someone of a sexual crime." But his tune changed once again when he discussed her release."She hasn’t committed any major offense. She just entered a place she wasn’t supposed to enter. She made claims about being kidnapped and raped. This is a criminal case against four individuals. … They have been investigated."

It’s slightly difficult to follow the actual timeline of events, as the news stories on the matter include much of the same information but have different dates. CNN’s report that she was released came on Monday-complete with Ibrahim’s comments that implied there was indeed still a case against the four men that Obeidi accused-and news stories since then indicate that a civil suit against Obeidi is in the works.

This much is clear: Iman al-Obeidi has not renounced her claims, not when she was mysteriously detained nor when, as her family claims, she was offered money for changing her story. Ibrahim’s statements, though, change on a daily basis. We might never know exactly what happened to Obeidi. I’m not overly optimistic about her alleged attackers being brought to justice. But, while it might be small comfort to Obedi, it’s easy to see who is more credible.

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

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