BBC crew tortured in Libya

The Libyan regime thinks it's a good idea to do this to journalists:

Three members of the BBC Arabic team in Tripoli were detained and beaten while reporting on the situation in Libya. They were arrested on Monday (07 March) and taken to various barracks where they suffered repeated assaults, were masked and handcuffed, and were subject to a mock execution.

There's a full transcript from the BBC on Christopher Dickey's blog, pretty harrowing stuff:

G: "there was a big iron gate. It looked like a film set, like an execution place. They took us out of the car and the middle of the compound there was a cage, they put three of us in the cage and the last thing I saw before the door shut they hit Feras with an AK 47. We started hearing him groaning. They turned up the radio, all Qaddafi songs."

C: "They were wearing uniforms with no badges of rank. Some of then had their faces covered."

F: "they were kicking and punching me, 4 or 5 men. I went down on to my knees. They attacked me as soon as I got out of the car. They knocked me down to the ground with their guns, AK-47s. I was down on my knees and I heard them cocking their guns. I thought they were going to shoot me. It was a fake execution. Then they took me into the room."

It seemed to be something like a guard room. Plain concrete with a heavy door, looked like a cell though they wondered if the guards slept there.

F: "They took me inside and left me alone for a few minutes and then they started. It was three by four, iron door, like a cell. After 15 minutes they were hitting me and kicking me very hard, the worst since I arrived, they put cuffs on my legs. They put three layers over my face, something like a surgical hat, the thing a nurse would wear but over my face."

"I was on the floor on my side, hands and feet cuffed, lying half on a mattress, and they were beating me."

"Before they covered my face up a big black guy, a very strong guy pulled my head back by my hair and hit me on the face."

"They were saying I’m a spy working for British intelligence, they asked me about the $400 and £60 and some dinars I was carrying. They asked if I was given the money from the intelligence department I worked for."

"I can’t remember how long it went for."

Unbelievable — glad they made it out alive.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.