• Mustafa Ozer/AFP via Getty


    Libyan Rape Victims Receive Relief

    Women attacked under Gaddafi’s regime would be considered war crime victims.

    In an unprecedented move, The International Criminal Court issued a decree calling for the financial compensation of victims raped during the 2011 Libyan uprising. The decree concluded that Muammar Gaddafi ordered the rape of women as a weapon and victims should be treated and compensated as war victims. The decree offers 12 measures for relief, including monetary and psychological support for the perhaps hundreds of victims of Gaddafi's ruthless regime. Voters are currently electing a new congressional body to write Libya's constitution, but the Justice Department promised it will not wait for a national congress to enact the decree.  

  • A Libyan woman in in Tripoli after casting her ballot during Libya's General National Assembly election on July 7, 2012. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty)


    Libya's Grand Mufti: Teachers Must Veil

    The country's top religious authority has ruled that female teachers must cover themselves when instructing boys who are nearing or at puberty. Jamie Dettmer reports from Tripoli.

    Two years ago at the height of the Arab Spring, hopes were running high among progressive women in Libya that their support for the uprising against Col. Muammar Gaddafi—from running guns and medicines to tending the wounded—would translate into a greater role in public and political life after the revolution. But dismaying setbacks are now coming thick and fast for them and the dangers of speaking out are escalating.

    Last week the country’s Grand Mufti, Libya’s top religious authority, issued a fatwa directing women teachers at schools and universities to veil themselves when instructing boys who have reached puberty or are even approaching it.

  • Georges Merillon/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

    The Horror, The Horror

    Gaddafi's Perverted Power Plays

    He abducted young women as sex slaves. He raped his male guards, soldiers, and ministers. Annick Cojean talks about her new book on Gaddafi's cold-blooded sexual debauchery.

    In 2011, French reporter Annick Cojean was in Libya reporting on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the country's tenacious revolution when she happened across a young woman with a terrible story to tell. Soraya (as Cojean calls her) had been a happy-go-lucky 15-year-old when Gaddafi noticed her on a visit to her school. Soon thereafter, three women took Soraya from her family and confined her as a sexual slave to satisfy the depraved dictator's whims. In her new book, Gaddafi's Harem, Cojean traces the tragic arc of Soraya's life under Gaddafi's iron rule—and reveals the systematic abuses of the despot who palled around with world leaders in public and who submitted his subjects (both male and female, powerful and lowly) to his cruel private lusts. Cojean spoke with The Daily Beast about Soraya's tale and Libya's attempts to forget its painful past.


  • John Redman/AP

    Inside Gaddafi’s Harem

    At age 15, she was kidnapped to become Libyan dictator Gaddafi’s sex slave. This is her story.

    At age 15, Soraya was spotted by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi when he visited her school. She was quickly abducted from her home in Sirte by his bodyguards and made his sex slave, joining many other girls who had been taken over the years. In this excerpt from Gaddafi’s Harem, she first encounters the colonel and learns about her new life.

    We drove for quite a while. I had no idea of the time but it seemed interminable. We’d left Sirte and were tearing through the desert. I was looking straight ahead, not daring to ask any questions. And then we arrived in Sdadah, in a kind of encampment. There were several tents, more 4x4s, and an immense trailer, or rather an extremely luxurious camper van. Mabrouka headed for the vehicle, motioning me to follow her, and in another car that was turning back I thought I noticed one of the girls from school who’d also been chosen to welcome the Guide the previous day. That should have reassured me, and yet the moment I entered the camper an unspeakable sense of dread grabbed hold of me. As if my entire being was fighting against the situation. As if it knew intuitively that something very bad was being hatched.

  • Libyan women wear tape over their mouths during a protest in Martyrs' Square calling for more freedom of expression, greater transparency and a more important role for the judiciary and the security forces, on December 5, 2012, in Tripoli, Libya. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty)


    Using Islam to Combat Domestic Abuse

    The Noor Campaign appeals to Muslim scriptures to condemn widespread violence against women in Libya. By Alaa Murabit.

    “Because I said so” is a phrase familiar to children around the world. It translates into every language and ensures that children understand that—no matter what they want, think, or believe—they are not getting their way. Growing up, I remember that regardless of how much I researched, how many facts I came up with, or how well I negotiated my stance, my childhood was defined by this simple rule: my parents were always right. There was only one exception to this rule—that their decisions must always be in accordance with Islamic teachings. I, of course used this exception to my advantage with my parents as I grew older, as well as with the organization I founded, the Voice of Libyan Women.

    Initially founded in August 2011, VLW focuses on the political, economic, and social empowerment of women. Since then, the organization completed a national assessment focusing on women in security—the first and only of its kind in Libya—as well as conducted interviews with key stakeholders and organized our annual One Voice conference, which brings together the acting head of state, members of Parliament, international ambassadors, and more than 150 local activists to address women's role in the increasingly complex security situation in Libya.

  • Mohammad Hannon/AP

    Holiday Downer

    Women’s Soccer Team Banned

    Libya’s women’s team was asked to not participate in a major tournament because it coincides with Ramadan.

    Religious extremists tended to be the biggest concern for Libya’s international women’s soccer team—until now. Libya's football association announced this week that the women have been banned from taking part in a tournament in Gemrany next Saturday, because it takes place during Ramadan. The tournament, Discover Football, is fundedby the German government and advertised as the “biggest gathering of Middle-Eastern women’s footballers since the 2001 Arab spring.” The women are reportedly disapppointed that they won't get to particpate in matches against teams from countries and regions such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, and Germany.