Unspeakable Cruelty: Abused Ethiopian Nanny Found at Gaddafi Compound

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Aug 30 2011

A horrific story was uncovered today when an Ethiopian woman, a former "servant" of the Qaddafi family, was found in the Qaddafi compound, totally brutalized and burned.

Shweyga Mullah was working for Hannibal, Qaddafi's son, and his wife, Aline. Aline Skaf is a Lebanese actress born in 1980 in Sebaal in Lebanon.

This is the report from CNN's Dan Rivers, in Tripoli:

As we were about to leave, one of the staff told us there was a nanny who worked for Hannibal Gadhafi who might speak to us. He said she'd been burnt by Hannibal's wife, Aline.

I thought he meant perhaps a cigarette stubbed out on her arm. Nothing prepared me for the moment I walked into the room to see Shweyga Mullah.

At first I thought she was wearing a hat and something over her face. Then the awful realization dawned that her entire scalp and face were covered in red wounds and scabs, a mosaic of injuries that rendered her face into a grotesque patchwork.

Even though the burns were inflicted three months ago, she was clearly still in considerable pain. But she told us her story calmly.

She'd been the nanny to Hannibal's little son and daughter.

The 30-year-old came to Libya from her native Ethiopia a year ago. At first things seemed OK, but then six months into her employment she said she was burned by Aline.

Three months later the same thing happened again, this time much more seriously.

In soft tones, she explained how Aline lost her temper when her daughter wouldn't stop crying and Mullah refused to beat the child.

"She took me to a bathroom. She tied my hands behind my back, and tied my feet. She taped my mouth, and she started pouring the boiling water on my head like this," she said, imitating the vessel of scalding hot water being poured over her head.

She peeled back the garment draped carefully over her body. Her chest, torso and legs are all mottled with scars -- some old, some still red, raw and weeping. As she spoke, clear liquid oozed from one nasty open wound on her head.

After one attack, "There were maggots coming out of my head, because she had hidden me, and no one had seen me," Mullah said.

Eventually, a guard found her and took her to a hospital, where she received some treatment.

But when Aline Gadhafi found out about the kind actions of her co-worker, he was threatened with imprisonment, if he dared to help her again.

"When she did all this to me, for three days, she wouldn't let me sleep," Mullah said. "I stood outside in the cold, with no food. She would say to staff, 'If anyone gives her food, I'll do the same to you.' I had no water -- nothing."

Her colleague, a man from Bangladesh who didn't want to give his name, says he was also regularly beaten and slashed with knives. He corroborated Mullah's account and says the family's dogs were treated considerably better than the staff.

Mullah was forced to watch as the dogs ate and she was left to go hungry, he said.

Link to story

Migrant workers have been among the hidden victims of the Libyan conflict. We have heard reports of Subsaharan African migrants being targeted and even killed by rebels on suspicion of being mercenaries, and of international companies abandoning low-paid migrant workers to fend for themselves when the conflict broke out.

However, Shweygah's case stands out because of the sheer cold-blooded brutality of one human being to another.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East