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Wednesday
Mar092011

Three BBC Team Members Detained for 21 Hours in Libya

ANTOINE LAMBROSCHINI/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Three men working for the BBC news were "detained and mistreated" by the Libyan military for 21 hours before being released Tuesday, according to the news organization.

On Monday, Feras Killani, who is Palestinian, Chris Cobb-Smith, who is British, and Goktay Koraltan, a Turkish man, were stopped at a checkpoint on their way to Zawiya, where members of Libya's army and secret police reportedly accused the three crew members of spying.

The team was next taken to a military barracks in Tripoli. Killani, a BBC Arabic reporter, described their detention at the barracks:

"In one cell there were about 10 to 12 prisoners. Two of them were Egyptians, the others Libyans.  The majority of them were from Zawiya," he said. "I understood from other guys that they were fighters, or that they were accused of fighting against Moammar Gadhafi's army."

Killani added that the other prisoners appeared to have "evidence of torture" on their bodies and faces.

At various points in the ordeal, the trio were beaten with fists, knees and rifles.  They were also hooded and subjected to mock executions. 

Finally, Killani said, "One man said to me 'sorry it was a mistake by the military.' But he said we were wrong first because we went out without permission."

The men were later released and flown out of Libya following several more hours of detention, according to the BBC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio