London: Three BBC journalists were ‘detained and beaten’ before being subjected to a mock execution while reporting in battle-torn Libya, the news organisation reported.

"They hit me with a stick, they used their army boots on me," Feras Killani, one of the released BBC Arabic reporters, said on Wednesday.

"He found a plastic pipe on the ground and beat me with that, then one of the soldiers gave him a long stick," added Killani, who is of Palestinian descent.

"After they finished beating me they taped the mask on my head with gaffer tape.

"I think there was something personal against me, they knew me and the sort of coverage I had been doing," Killani said. "I think they monitored the BBC and had an idea, he knew who we were and what we were doing."

Killani and his colleagues, Briton Chris Cobb-Smith and Turk Goktay Koraltan, were arrested on Monday at a checkpoint six miles south of Zawiya, where forces loyal to leader Moamer Kadhafi are fighting vicious battles with rebels.

All three have now left the country.