BBC Team Detained, Beaten by Gadhafi Forces
Journalists subjected to mock executions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2011 10:19 PM CST
BBC reporter Feras Killani, left, and cameraman Goktay Koraltan, right, are seen at a hotel in Tripoli, Libya yesterday.   (AP Photo/BBC)

(Newser) – A team of BBC journalists has been flown out of Libya after being detained, beaten, and subjected to mock executions by Libyan security forces. The three were taken to a military barracks near Tripoli after being stopped at a checkpoint near Zawiyah, scene of fierce fighting between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces. The men say they were blindfolded, handcuffed, and beaten. During the 21 hours they were held, they saw evidence that many other detainees had been tortured.

"We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line—facing the wall," producer Chris Cobb-Smith says. "I looked and I saw a plainclothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me. Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed." Many of the other detainees "were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs," cameraman Goktay Koraltan says. "They were in agony. They were screaming."