IT has been more than two years since the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator whose reign subjected an impoverished people to four decades of murder and terror.
When the bedraggled former leader was hauled out of a drainpipe and shot in October 2011, his death ended the bloody Nato-led civil war that had ravaged the country since the start of that year.
The full horror of his brutality has been slow to emerge, with many Libyans still fearing retaliation by those who continue to be loyal to their late leader. But it can now be revealed that the most heartbreaking of Gaddafi’s victims include hundreds, possibly thousands of teenage girls who, throughout his 42-year reign, were beaten, raped and forced to become his sex slaves.
Many were virgins kidnapped from schools and universities and kept prisoner for years in a specially designed secret sex lair hidden within Tripoli University or his many palaces. In the 26 months since he was deposed, Gaddafi’s den – where he regularly raped girls as young as 14 – has remained locked. But today its gaudy interior, where the colonel brutalised his victims, can be seen for the first time in photographs from a hard-hitting BBC4 documentary.
Inside the small, nondescript single-storey complex, the girls were forced to watch pornography to ‘educate’ them for their degrading treatment at the hands of Gaddafi. And even those who did manage to escape were often shunned by their deeply religious Muslim families who believed their family honour had been tainted.