A BBC news team beaten and jailed by Libyan security forces say they were subjected to a mock execution and saw evidence of prisoners being tortured.
The three journalists were detained on Monday and held for 21 hours as they tried to make their way to the rebel-held town of Zawiyah.
The three — Briton Chris Cobb-Smith, Turkish cameraman Goktay Koraltan, and correspondent Feras Killani, a Palestinian — said they were accused of spying and had their lives threatened. They were also beaten with fists, rifles and sticks, and hooded and handcuffed, they said.
Feras, in a statement released by the BBC, said that while in a prison they saw other Libyan captives from Zawiyah who had been beaten and tortured.
Cobb-Smith said at one stage they were lined up against a wall. “I looked and I saw a plain-clothes 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.”
The crew was arrested on Monday at a checkpoint while on the way to Zawiyah, a rebel-held town about 50 km from Tripoli that has been hotly contested during the uprising against Gaddafi. They have flown out of Libya following their release.
At the same time the organisation Reporters Without Borders said that a journalist working for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and a Brazilian colleague who went missing in Libya this week have been arrested and imprisoned by government forces.
Guardian reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi national, and Andrei Netto from Brazilian newspaper Estado, were being held at an undisclosed location, Reporters Without Borders quoted an Estado editor as saying.
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