“We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line – facing the wall,” said Mr. Cobb-Smith, a British journalist, according to a transcript provided by the BBC. "I looked and I saw a plainclothes guy with a small submachine 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 journalists told the BBC that they were taken to a large military barracks in Tripoli, where they saw other prisoners who appeared to have been tortured. Mr. Killani, a Palestinian refugee with a Syrian passport, said that many of the prisoners were from Zawiyah and were there because they were accused of being rebel fighters.
"Four of them were in a very bad situation,” Mr. Killani said of his fellow detainees. “There was evidence of torture on their faces and bodies. One of them said he had at least two broken ribs. I spent at least six hours helping them drink, sleep, urinate, and move from one side to another."
Killani was accused of spying and told that the Libyan government did not like their reporting on the uprising in Libya. Turkish cameraman Mr. Koraltan said that there “was a big operation going on there.”
"I cannot describe how bad it was. Most of them [other detainees] were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs. They were in agony. They were screaming," Mr. Koraltan said.
The BBC successfully lobbied for the team’s release after being notified of their detention through a cell phone one of the journalists had smuggled into the prison. A Libyan senior government official apologized for the incident.
The United Nations condemned the Libya's detention of the BBC journalists, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay saying it amounted to torture. "If an international television crew can be subjected to this type of treatment, it makes me extremely concerned about the treatment that is most likely being meted out to Libyan opponents of the regime who have fallen into the hands of the security services," she said today.