BBC crew says beaten, threatened by Libyan forces

News team stopped trying to reach besieged town of Zawiyah, subjected to mock execution, broadcaster says; staff accused of spying.

By REUTERS
March 10, 2011 01:36
2 minute read.
A Libya rebel walks past a burning Oil Terminal

Libya rebels 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

LONDON - A BBC news team was detained by Libyan security forces, beaten and subjected to mock execution after they were stopped trying to reach the besieged western town of Zawiyah, the British broadcaster said on Wednesday.

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 during the 21 hours they were held by soldiers and secret police loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

RELATED:
Terra Incognita: Libya: Many collaborators, little romance
At least 40 dead as Gaddafi forces take rebel city in Libya
Who wants a no-fly zone over Libya?
'Libyans will take up arms against the West if attacked'

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


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 (30 miles) from Tripoli that has been hotly contested during the uprising against Gaddafi.

They have flown out of Libya following their release.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

The government has restricted the movements of foreign journalists based in Tripoli and says they must only travel with official escorts.

At least 40 people died Wednesday as forces loyal to Gaddafi regained control of the center of Zawiyah, after using tanks and snipers to drive rebels out of their stronghold in the western city's main square, residents said.

Related Content

A Syrian soldier is seen standing in the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria July 7, 2
August 15, 2018
Jordan vows to eradicate terrorism after deadly standoff

By TERRANCE J. MINTNER & DIMA ABUMARIA/THE MEDIA LINE