Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding US Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

Africa

BBC journalists beaten, subjected to mock execution

Latest update : 2011-03-10

Three BBC journalists were detained, beaten and subjected to a mock execution south of Zawiya on Monday, the broadcaster said. The British Foreign Office has described the incident as "abhorrent".

AFP - Three BBC journalists in Libya were arrested, beaten and subjected to a mock execution, leading Britain to condemn the act as more proof of atrocities committed by embattled leader Moamer Kadhafi's regime. 

The three were arrested on Monday at a checkpoint six miles (9.6 kilometres) south of Zawiya, where forces loyal to Kadhafi are fighting vicious battles with rebels, the BBC said.

The three men were then taken to a military barracks in Tripoli where they "suffered repeated assaults" by members of Libya's army and secret police before being released 21 hours later. All three have now left the country.

"They hit me with a stick, they used their army boots on me, and their knees," Feras Killani, one of the released BBC Arabic reporters, told BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen.

"He found a plastic pipe on the ground and beat me with that, then one of the soldiers gave him a long stick," added Killani, who is of Palestinian descent.

"After they finished beating me they taped the mask on my head with gaffer tape.

"I think there was something personal against me, they knew me and the sort of coverage I had been doing," Killani said. "I think they monitored the BBC and had an idea, he knew who we were and what we were doing."

Britain's Foreign Office (FCO) blasted the "abhorrent" detention of Killani and his colleagues, Briton Chris Cobb-Smith and Turk Goktay Koraltan.

"We were aware of the incident and have been in contact with the BBC throughout, facilitating contacts to ensure the safe release of those detained," an FCO spokesman said Wednesday.

"We condemn the abhorrent treatment of the team. This is yet another example of the horrific crimes being committed in Libya. The regime had invited journalists to Libya to see the truth. This truth is even more glaring today than it was before.

"As we have made clear there will be a day of reckoning for these abuses," he added.

Cobb-Smith told the BBC that the three men were "lined up against the wall" before their mock execution.

"I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun," he explained. "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," he recalled.

"After the shooting incident one man who spoke very good English...ordered them to cut off our handcuffs.

"When he had filled in the paper work, it was suddenly all over. It was a charm offensive, packets of cigarettes, tea, coffee, offers of food," he added.

Koraltan admitted he was "really scared". "I thought they were going to kill us and blame Al-Qaeda or the rebels," he said.

According to Killani, other detainees were being abused in the facility.

"I spent the night in a cell. There were 10 to 12 men from Zawiya. Some were in a bad situation," he said.

"Two of them told me they had broken ribs. The four who were masked, I helped them breathe by lifting their masks, saw they had been badly beaten," he recounted.

Liliane Landor, controller, Languages, BBC global news, said: "The BBC strongly condemns this abusive treatment of our journalists and calls on the Libyan government to ensure all media are able to report freely.

"Despite these attacks, the BBC will continue to cover the evolving story in Libya for our audiences both inside and outside the country," she vowed.
 

Date created : 2011-03-10

  • LIBYA

    Western leaders fire rhetoric at Libya's 'brutal' Gaddafi

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Libyan refugee tide ebbs - for now

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Gaddafi forces step up attacks in west and east Libya

    Read more

COMMENT(S)