Wednesday 9 March 2011

BBC team beaten up by security forces in Libya

A three-strong BBC news team was detained in Libya and beaten up by Colonel Gaddafi's security forces as they were trying to reach the western city of Zawiya, BBC News reports.

It said: "The trio were beaten with fists, knees and rifles, hooded and subjected to mock executions by members of Libya's army and secret police.

"The three men were held for 21 hours, but have now flown out of Libya following their detention on Monday."

Government forces are in a fierce fight to wrest Zawiya from rebel control.

One of the team, Chris Cobb-Smith, is quoted as saying: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line - facing the 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."

A second member of the team - Feras Killani, a correspondent of Palestinian descent - is said to have been singled out by their captors for the worst of the violence.

The third member of the team, cameraman Goktay Koraltan, said he was convinced they were going to die.

Pics: Goktay Koraltan and Feras Kilani

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