The four New York Times journalists held in Libya last week and returned safely yesterday have provided details about their capture at the hands of the Libyan military.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the harrowing story is the abuse photograher Lynsey Addario underwent.
The soldiers grabbed whatever they could get their hands on to tie up their prisoners: wire, an electrical cord from a home appliance, a scarf. One removed Ms. Addario’s shoes, pulled out the laces and used them to bind her ankles. Then one punched her in the face and laughed.
“Then I started crying,” she recalled. “And he was laughing more.” One man grabbed her breasts, the beginning of a pattern of disturbing behaviour she would experience from her captors over the next 48 hours.
“There was a lot of groping,” she said. “Every man who came in contact with us basically felt every inch of my body short of what was under my clothes.”
Their captors held them in Ajdabiya until the fighting with the rebels died down. Soldiers put the four in a vehicle and drove them out of the city around 2 a.m. One threatened to decapitate Mr. Hicks. Another stroked Ms. Addario’s head and told her repeatedly she was going to die.
“He was caressing my head in this sick way, this tender way, saying: ‘You’re going to die tonight. You’re going to die tonight,’ ” she said.
Eventually the four were taken to Tripoli, where they were handed over to Libyan defence officials and placed in a safe house, where ” they said they were treated well” and allowed a phone call. The State Dept spent the following days negotiating for their release with Turkish diplomats acting as a go-between.
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