Submachine were held to their hooded and blindfolded heads as soldiers and secret police accused them of bad reporting, according to a detailed account published by the BBC today.
The three BBC reporters were taken into custody Monday after were trying to reach the town of Zawiya, 30 minutes outside of Tripoli, which has been battered by Gadhafi's army, the BBC said.
They were taken to a huge barracks in Tripoli, where they were blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten. Their captors, who included members of the secret police, put hoods on them and used rifles, fists and knees when hitting them.
They were also threatened with death in a mock execution, with submachine guns held to their heads.
"We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line -- facing the wall," Chris Cobb-Smith, one of the BBC's Arabic Services team and the only Briton of the three, told the BBC.
"I looked and I saw a plainclothes guy with a small submachine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me. Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed."
Correspondent Feras Killani, who is of Palestinian descent and holds a Syrian passport, seemed to have to have been singled out for the worst beatings, the BBC said. Gadhafi's men told him they did not like his reporting on the Libyan popular uprising and accused him of being a spy.
"I cannot describe how bad it was," Koraltan said. "Most of them were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs. They were in agony. They were screaming."
The beating of the BBC reporters comes as reports of attacks and harassment of foreign journalists in Libya increase.
The Guardian's Peter Beaumont said today that Libyan authorities are "trying to take laptops off journalists leaving Tripoli Airport along with SIM cards."
The BBC issued a statement strongly condemning the "abusive treatment" of its journalists.
"Despite these attacks, the BBC will continue to cover the evolving story in Libya for our audiences both inside and outside the country," said Liliane Landor, languages controller of BBC Global News.