Tracey Shelton, a well-known Phnom Penh-based photographer and long-time staffer at The Phnom Penh Post, was attacked in her Benghazi hotel room August 11.
Two armed men wearing military fatigues broke into Shelton’s room at the Africa Hotel, tied her up, beat her, and attempted to kidnap her. The journalist escaped by jumping to a neighboring balcony.
Shelton told CPJ that two men dressed in army uniforms broke in through her balcony at 3 a.m. with guns and knives, tied her up, and beat her. Although authorities have not confirmed the motive of the attack, the journalist said that the men had planned to kidnap her. Shelton managed to free her hands and legs, escaped through the window, and ran to a neighboring hotel, whose staff called the police. By the time the police got to her hotel room, the assailants had stolen everything valuable, including her equipment, laptop, and wallet.
According to coworkers, Tracy remains undaunted by the attack. She has no immediate plans to leave Libya, and she was last heard making her way to Tripoli. The day after the episode she posted to Facebook the rather cool understatement, “I’ve definitely had better days.” And when the Committee to Protect Journalists asked if there was anything it could do for her, “all she wanted was a camera.”
“CPJ urges the National Transitional Council to conduct its investigation in a timely and thorough manner,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “It is important that the authorities demonstrate that attacks on journalists will not go unpunished.”