Libyan soldiers physically abused a team of New York Times journalists and threatened to kill them during the six days they were held in captivity, the newspaper said Tuesday.
The journalists said they were captured March 15 when their driver mistakenly drove into a checkpoint manned by Libyan forces in eastern Libya. Their driver is still missing.
"I heard in Arabic, 'Shoot them,' the newspaper quoted reporter Anthony Shadid as saying. "And we all thought it was over."
Soldiers tied up the journalists with wire, an electrical cord, a scarf and shoelaces, and hit them repeatedly with fists and rifle butts.
Photographer Lynsey Addario says she was punched in the face and groped. One soldier stroked her head and told her 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,' " the newspaper quoted Addario as saying.
The Times said soldiers threatened to decapitate photographer Tyler Hicks. Hicks said they temporarily put handcuffs on Shadid so tightly that he lost feeling in his hands.
The Libyan forces flew Addario, Shadid, Hicks and videographer Stephen Farrell to Tripoli on Thursday.
The Libyan government initially demanded that a U.S. diplomat come to Tripoli to retrieve them, but the U.S. government refused because it already had closed its embassy.
The Libyans allowed the Turkish Embassy to act as an intermediary, the newspaper said. They were released Monday and driven to Tunisia.