BBC team bashed up by Gaddafi forces

A BBC news team reporting in violence-torn Libya was detained and repeatedly beaten by Col Muammar Gaddafi's security forces after being accused of spying, it has emerged.

Three members of the corporation's Arabic staff were held for 21 hours in various military compounds where they were hooded, handcuffed, beaten mercilessly, and subjected to a mock execution, the BBC said.

Their "abhorrent treatment" was condemned by the British foreign office, which promised of a "day of reckoning" for the abuses.

The trio were arrested on Monday at an army checkpoint at Al Zahra, six miles south of the western city of Zawiyah. They were with a local driver who was also taken.

Despite their BBC identification being shown, the men had their equipment confiscated and were interrogated before being taken to a huge military compound and held without food or water.

Correspondent Feras Killani, a Palestinian refugee, said he was accused of being a British spy by his Libyan captors and believed he was going to be executed.