New York Times Female Photographer Sexually Assaulted by Pro-Gaddafi Forces in Libya

March 23, 2011 /Photography News/   Four New York Times journalists freed by the Libyan government, including Pulizer Prize-winning photographer Lynsey Addario, endured physical abuse during their time in their captors’ hands.

Addario, 37, revealed just hours after her release how she was repeatedly sexually assaulted during the Libyan hostage ordeal.
After she was hauled out of a car at a checkpoint near the city of Ajdabiya, one of the Libyans punched her in the face and laughed. “Then I started crying and he was laughing more,” she told the New York Times.

One man grabbed her breasts - the start of a pattern of sexual harassment she endured over the ensuing 48 hours. “There was a lot of groping,” she said. “Every man who came in contact with us basically felt every inch of my body short of what was under my clothes.”

As she was being driven away from Ajdabiya, she said another of her captors stroked her head and told her repeatedly that she was going to be killed. 

“He was caressing my head in this sick way, this tender way, saying: ‘You’re going to die tonight. You’re going to die tonight’,” she added. 

After two days of moving around, they finally boarded a plane that took them to the capital of Tripoli, where they were handed over to Libyan defense officials, The Times said. They were transferred to a safe house, where they said they were treated well. They were each allowed a brief phone call. 

But their arrival in Tripoli was just the beginning of three days of frustrating, increasingly tense negotiations conducted by a State Department consular officer, The Times said. During this time, the allied coalition, including the United States, began bombing Tripoli to enforce a no-fly zone.

The release was scheduled for Sunday but was delayed until Monday because of the bombing, the newspaper said. The four were turned over to Turkish diplomats Monday afternoon, and were driven to the border with Tunisia. 

The other three journalists released on Monday are Anthony Shadid, The Times’ Beirut bureau chief, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting; photographer Tyler Hicks, who have extensive experience in war zones; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell, who in 2009 was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.

The sexual abuse Addario suffered highlights the additional risks women face while covering the recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. 

CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually abused in February by an Egyptian crowd during the celebration in Cairo's Tarir Square during the celebration of President Hosni Mubarak's decision to step down. 

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 13 journalists are either missing or in Libyan government custody. The missing include four from Al Jazeera, two from Agence France-Presse and one from Getty Images.  
Photo: americanistadechiapas


  1. Anonymous says

    It seems she had a good time... that saying that every woman dreams about being raped appeared to be true...

    jill says

    @Anonymous, you are repulsive. It makes me think you are one of those pro-Gaddafi barbarians for saying that. But if you were, you wouldn't know how to use a computer, would you? So for the fact you are not, your comment seems even more barbaric. It could have been your wife, your mother or your daughter. What about their fantasies then?

    Anonymous says

    i hope the administrator promptly deletes the grotesque remarks by the above anonymous troll.

    Anonymous says

    jill, what if I am a US republican barbarian - they have killed more innocent people around the world than hundred Gaddafi could even be able to imagine... I feel sorry for you miserable victims of newspapers propaganda... you have no clue what's going on in the world...

    Anonymous says

    One of the unfortunate aspects of the internet is it allows hateful people to post their bile spewing comments anonymously. Comments that are only meant to inflict pain, fear, racist, or sexist remarks. No intention of communicating in a constructive fashion, just being the cowards they are.

    Anonymous says

    Well I could tell you everything in face if you want... while internet doesn't allow me to do that... what can you tell me in a constructive fashion??? - why we have to kill people, hang presidents of foreign countries, and bring our standards of living to them???....

    Anonymous says

    Hey dickhead! Yeah, there's only one dickhead who has posted on here so we all know who this is aimed at. Your argument doesn't make the slightest bit of sense, you just want some attention. You use words like constructive fashion yet in your post you say 'every woman dreams about being raped appeared to be true'. That's constructive is it? You're a DICK. You think with your dick, you use your dick as a weapon, for you obviously do not have an engaged mind so you rely on male power! Yeehah! Go on get yer penis out, makes you feel good yeah? Now, imagine raping your mum. Did your mum dream of being raped? Perhaps you hate your mum and wish you had raped her, maybe you did? Going by your comment you are one insecure, scared little man. The Libyan people want our help, I have watched a man in the UK tell in an interview that his mum (yes, his mum, I know, it's amazing isn't it that women have a voice, you probably can't get yer head around that) in Libya wanted help, a no-fly zone, intervention etc as Gaddafi's army were killing Libyans. Libyan's who want freedom from his rule but have no other way other than to demonstrate but once attacked have no option but to fight back. You sir, are a dick and really not worth anybody's time. Go ask yer mum why she didn't love you enough, feel her pain, get in touch with yours and then cry like you've never cried before, for a real man knows hurt and pain and what it feels like to know that life is precious and only love matters. Take your hate and shove it up your arse. My name is Christian, I live in the UK, if you were to say what you said in front of well-meaning people you would have been rejected from their company instantly but instead you hide behind the anonymity of a screen because hate is easy that way, isn't it? It's so easy to be a hater, far harder to love, you've taken the easy path. You will learn nothing down that road, it's a slippery slope. Wave bye bye!

    Anonymous says

    To the more passionate Anonymous there;
    you DO realize that your IP address Does leave a trace - especially for those who have a technology and permission to retrieve.
    So the 'anonymity' you are hiding behind is merely to let you feel secure in your cowardice (because let's face it - only a mangy cowardly jackal will attack a defenseless pray - yup yup yup, you ball-less mutt)- and let us trace your trail of mental vomit. Because no we do know where you live and who you are.
    Enjoy your little spineless dance while you can.

    Anonymous says

    You all propogate the theory that humanity is at war with its own existence.

    Miranda says

    As far as I remember only the US and Russia create wars... However, those recent social unrests like in Libya, Egypt aren't wars, but they happen mostly inspired and encouraged by the US secret forces...everything could have been sorted out quickly and without so many casualties by the local government police...

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