Six years in U.S. prison to Libyan symbol of defiance

Eman al-Obeidi was found guilty of assaulting two women last year in a U.S. bar

Published: Updated:

A U.S. court has sentenced Libyan Eman al-Obeidi to six years behind the bars, four years after she escaped Muammar Qaddafi’s troops and became an icon in her country.

The 32-year-old Obeidi - who now goes by the name Eman Ali - was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday for assaulting two women in a Boulder’s bar inside the Pearl Street Mall in 2014, according to a report in Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper.

“This is a very disturbing and very serious incident that occurred here,” Boulder District Judge Andrew Macdonald told Ali. “You present a level of danger that needs to be addressed.”

Ali was found guilty by a Boulder County jury of one count of felony second-degree assault and one misdemeanor count of third-degree assault by a Boulder County jury after a three-day trial in May.

Prosecutors said Ali confronted two women and poured her beer on one of them, then returned half an hour later and threw a glass at the second woman's head, leaving an inch-long cut on her forehead that required four staples to close.

Ali claimed self-defense during the trial, but Macdonald said the jury’s decision accurately reflected a lack of evidence and said videos show that Ali was clearly the aggressor.

Al-Obeidi became famous on March 26, 2011, six weeks after a Libyan uprising against Qaddafi erupted in Benghazi. She burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, telling foreign journalists staying at the hotel that Qaddafi’s men had raped and tortured her and she pleaded for help. Months later, she arrived in New York with the help of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and has since been based in Colorado.