Iman al-Obeidi deported to Libya

// 3 June 2011

Urgent.jpgImage shows a sign saying “URGENT”. Courtesy of RambergMediaImages, shared under a Creative Commons License

A disappointing turn in the case of Iman al-Obeidi, who seemed to have made it to safety in Qatar: despite being granted refugee status by the UN, she has since been deported, against her will, back to Libya:

“Last evening Qatari authorities notified her she would be sent back to Benghazi by military plane… and at 6:15 a.m. Washington D.C. time, she was flown back to Benghazi with her parents,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR regional representative in Washington.

“She felt it was not the right time for her to go back,” he added. “We are very concerned about her future, we are very concerned about her security.”

Cochetel said Obaidi had been deported “by force, by military personnel,” after making it “crystal clear” she did not want to return. UNHCR had sent an official to protect her, but he had not been able to prevent the deportation. […]

Obaidi had been under pressure from the rebels to return to her home country for some time, and had come under fire for complaining about the lack of support she had received from the rebels and in particular from rebel official Mahmoud Shammam in Doha.

“Mahmoud Shammam had been giving her a hard time,” said Mohamed Ali, an official from the city council of the rebel-held city of Misurata, who is now based in Doha. “It is very counterproductive what Shammam has done.”

Please contact the Transitional National Council of Libya – their contact email address for matters relating to humanitarian aid is aid@ntclibya.org. (I would copy in aid@ntclibya.com as both email addresses are listed at different parts of their website.) Ask them to allow Iman al-Obeidi access to travel and to the UNHCR.

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