Three BBC Journalists Tortured in Libya

The BBC managed to get the correspondents freed after urging the Libyan government for a release.


NEW YORK -- Three BBC correspondents in Libya reported that security forces of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi detained them and physically abused and psychologically terrorized them for 21 hours, according to the New York Times.

The correspondents told their network that they were detained ---despite showing identification -- on the way to covering a battle and beaten with fists and rifles, as well as subjected to mock executions.

Foreign journalists were invited to Libya's capital Tripoli by the government and promised the ability to move and report freely.

One of the correspondents used a cell phone to notify the BBC, which urged the Libyan government to release the TV team, according to the Times.

Feras Killani, a correspondent for BBC Arabic, and his colleague Goktay Koraltan said they saw evidence of more violence against civilians in custody as the Libyan leader continues to battle a revolt against his four decades in power.

“I looked and I saw a plainclothes guy with a small submachine gun,” said the third correspondent, Chris Cobb-Smith, according to the Times. “He put it to everyone’s neck.”

He added that the man “put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice," but "the bullets whisked past my ear.”

Killani, who is of Palestinian descent, was accused of being a spy, beaten repeatedly and told his news coverage wasn't welcomed, the reporters said.