Since Muammar Qaddafi has been on the run, plenty of bizarre items have turned up among the former dictator’s possessions. Mostly they’ve ranged from the decadent to the tacky to the creepy-yet-maybe-kind-of-sweet. But the latest one veers into the realm of the sinister: an underground lair beneath Tripoli’s largest university, outfitted with a bedroom, a Jacuzzi—and a fully equipped gynecological operating room.
In a BBC News video, the university’s new dean, looking disgusted, guides a camera crew through the bunker, which was tucked beneath a theater that served as a center for teaching about Qadaffi’s Libyan revolution. Only Qaddafi and his top associates had access to it.
“I’m shocked. I’m really shocked,” the dean, Faisal Krekshi, says of the gynecological equipment. “This is something which confirms our suspicions that this place maybe was used to do some things which were illegal… I don’t want to say rape, but sexual behavior.”
The Daily Beast expands:
Behind a set of locked doors there’s a room with a cozy double bed, flowery carpets, and small lamps that casts off a warm orange glow. In an adjoining bathroom there’s a Jacuzzi with water jets. Some faculty members say the dictator brought his mistresses to the room, others ask whether he raped female students there. It gets weirder. A couple of doors down there’s a full gynecological examination room. “There’s a gyne bed—what the hell is it doing in here?” asks Krekshi, an OB/GYN doctor who has worked at the university for 14 years but had no knowledge of the facility. “I think it’s here for illegal abortions.”
The rebel fighters who took over the campus also found a makeshift prison and an office used by Qadaffi’s intelligence chief, the Daily Beast notes. Intelligence documents listed the names of staff members who might be targeted for a purge, or worse.
The university’s new leaders now face the challenge of rebuilding the institution in the face of such disturbing reminders of its past. One question is how they will deal with former Qaddafi loyalists among the faculty and staff.