August 31 2015: Man who fled Libya with seven bullets in his leg backs Scottish campaign to stop violence against women

The Evening Times, August 31 2015

A man who fled to the UK with bullets in his leg after being hunted down by terrorists is backing a Scottish drive to stop violence against women.

Rida Naieli, who lives in the West of Glasgow, escaped Libya last year after being shot by terrorist groups who were targeting his family.

With seven bullets lodged in his right leg, the 23-yearold claimed asylum after flying to London from Tripoli in March last year.

Doctors in the UK managed to remove five bullets but it was too risky to remove the remaining two.

However, next month medics in Glasgow hope they can perform a six-hour operation to remove one of the bullets after helping move it away from nerves through physiotherapy work.

Rida has not let the injury stop him from campaigning against violence, which he says has ruined the lives of so many Libyans.

He fears for the safety of his wife and other members of his family but said he had no option but to try to seek safety so that they might have a better future.

Rida has thrown his weight behind White Ribbon Scotland’s campaign which encourages men to speak out and condemn violence against women.

He has helped to produce and film a campaign video along with other members of the Maryhill Integration Network, which will be shown in schools and communities.

Rida, who worked at a chocolate company in Libya, knows the effect of extreme violence on communities.

After the Libyan revolution of 2011, ordinary families’ lives changed forever in the north African country.

Speaking with the help of a translator Rida said: “I worked at a chocolate company, I was earning money, I was getting on with my life.

“We were living a safe life with security.”

Following the unrest, terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS) began to operate in the country.

Rida said: “I have seen rockets coming from sky near my house. There was bombing everywhere.

“I’ve seen a woman beheaded. There is no system at all, there are a lot kidnappings, killings, rapes.

“You walk on dead bodies because of the rockets. Everybody’s lying on the street.” Rida said he was traumatised by the images which come to his mind and leave him paralysed in fear.

He said: “I’m not here to look for money or anything like that, I’m looking for peace of mind.”

Rida sustained his wound from an unknown terrorist group. They killed his friend before kidnapping and torturing him.

Rida’s brother helped him escape the country and fly to the UK. Now Rida believes his brother has been kidnapped for his role in helping him and fears he could be killed.

Rida is one of 67 men from the network’s men’s group who originate form 11 countries. The anti-domestic violence film was made with the support of Glasgow filmmakers media co-op.

Rida, who is still hoping he will be granted asylum by the Home Office, said: “It’s a great film which shows the real message of violence.

“In Libya before the revolution it was okay, women were better off then. Now women can be raped anytime.”

Rose Filippi, Maryhill Inte-gration Network men’s group co-ordinator, said: “All of these men have fled violence or the threat of it to seek safety in Scotland, so this is an issue that resonated with them. “Over the course of the project we held workshops with White Ribbon trained speakers, and it seemed a natural next step to make a film. “It’s been a powerful and positive process.

“We hear so much negativity about refugees but this is a great example of the way that they can, and do, contribute.”

The two-minute film, which is available in English, Arabic, Tigrinya and Amharic will be distributed by an online social media campaign and available for interested men’s groups, community groups and other organisations.

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