Three journalists briefly abducted in Libya

Three television journalists were briefly abducted in Libya in April 2013, according to news reports.

Hassan al-Bacouche, a correspondent for Free Libyan TV, was kidnapped in Benghazi on April 29, 2013, and beaten for two hours by a group of unidentified armed men, according to his testimony on Free Libyan TV. Al-Bacouche said he was leaving Benghazi University, when the gunmen forced him into their car, blindfolded him, and drove him more than 20 miles outside the city. “They accused me and all journalists of destroying the country,” he said.

Al-Bacouche said his attackers released him a few hours later near the Palm Resort in Benghazi, a few miles away from where he was kidnapped.

Another journalist, Mahmoud al-Firgany, a correspondent for Al-Arabiya TV in Tripoli, was abducted on April 29, 2013, and held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building for seven hours, according to news reports. The journalist was covering the siege of the government building by armed men affiliated with the Political Exclusion Coordination Group, a group that calls for implementing a law to deprive members in the government of former leader Muammar Qaddafi from their political rights, reports said. Al-Firgany said the armed men questioned him about his loyalty to Qaddafi.

The group did not immediately deny the allegations.

In an unrelated case, unidentified men abducted Youssef Qarqoum, a reporter for Libya First Channel, on April 22, 2013, in Benghazi and held him for three days, according to news reports. The journalist said he was kidnapped by two cars while leaving Al-Manara, a local radio station, where he had discussed government corruption.

Qarqoum said he was beaten and tortured, including with electrocution, and told another journalist that the abductors accused him of being a Qaddafi supporter. Qarqoum said the men threatened to kill him if he talked to the media, including about the kidnapping, and said they would kill his family members, who they named.

Qarqoum was hospitalized upon his release.