British journalists accused of spying in Libya

A Libyan militia accused two British journalists of spying today, saying they crossed the border illegally and possessed sensitive materials.

Reporter Nicholas Davies and cameraman Gareth Montgomery-Johnson work for Iran’s Press TV.

“With regards to the two detainees from Britain, they were in Libya illegally, without a visa or entry stamp,” said Faraj Swehli, the commander of the Swehli militia, AFP reported.

“Their conduct and movements within the capital were suspicious from the outset so we monitored them,” Swehli said at a press conference in Tripoli.

The Swehli militia of Misrata said the duo came under suspicion as they filmed in Tripoli, AFP said.

More from GlobalPost: Nicholas Davies, Gareth Montgomery-Johnson detained in Libya

They were detained Feb. 22 in Misrata, about about two hours east of Tripoli, according to Reuters.

Swehli produced footage of them men firing weapons and said they carried “Made in Israel” medical equipment used by the military. He also said they had recently traveled to and from China.

“Is this the camera of a journalist?” Suleiman al-Fortiya, a National Transitional Council member, said at the press conference.

Swehli said he found with the reporters documents containing names of a Tripoli militia members killed in 2011, and identities of mercenaries who fought alongside dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s troops, Reuters said.

“We believe they are spies,” Swelhi said. “After we have finished the investigation, we are going to transfer them to the state authorities to pursue the legal process against them.”

The British consulate visits the two men daily, Reuters said, although it wouldn’t comment directly on the accusations.

“We are aware that two British nationals have been arrested in Libya. We are providing consular assistance,” a spokesperson said.

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