There was in fact an underground prison used at the Katiba base in Benghazi. Or at least I'm willing to accept that, in itself, that makes sense. An entrance to some underground chamber is shown, and it was said prisoners were found in there after rebel forces blasted their way in. But the number of them and their conditions are not entirely clear.
I can see a few reasons, good and not so good, the government would decide to jail quite a few people during the uprising in Benghazi. One source (huge page, slow to load) claims
9:30 PM Reports of 1500 (some reports of 300) young men found trapped in an underground prison in Benghazi, left without food or water from the 15th of February to the 22nd. Reportedly still all alive.The linked source has the 1500 number "confirmed" by "a caller." I'm not sure who said 300. Another report spoke of seven rescued from an improvised chamber with no food, water, windows, or even doors - buried alive, basically, in a little space with an air tube (the space is shown). It's not clear if they were to be dug out later or what, That would be rather inhumane, if true.
But the following account is almost certainly a bunch of crap, exaggerated into the type of horrifying catacombs rumored beneath the McMartin preeschool in the early 1980s. Here, in chambers that don't really exist, children were allegedly abused, with ceremonial regularity, in a sexual, satanic, and downright ridiculous manners. This more geo-politicaly relevant reincarnation comes from a self-described prisoner. The young man, comforted by another with an arm around him, is shown telling all in a Youtube video with English subtitles. These I've re-typed below, changing the spelling of Senusi to the Senoussi I'm familiar with, and fixing some punctuation, etc.
After taking our clothes off, they took us to an underground cell. We were about 70 men. I recognized a couple of them.Wow, what a dramatic conclusion - only the suicide bombing of the north gate and an influx of Islamist rebels was able, at the last moment, to save all but three of the remaining prisoners. And according to this kid, the über-villain Abdullah Senoussi was among those running just ahead of the crowd. For those unaware (the video also pauses to explain), he's col. Gaddafi's brother-in-law, and after the leader, his sons, and perhaps Moussa Koussa, the most senior official accused of a huge range of atrocities, within Libya and without. He was actually convicted, in absentia, for planning the destruction of an airliner (UTA 772) - as if that means much as far as what really happened. It's possible.
They whipped and tortured us. Saadi Gaddafi and Abdullah Senoussi were there. What were they doing? They were telling the guards to rape us.
We were naked by then and the guads were harrassing us... I can't tell you what they did to us. Then they tied our hands and feet and blindfolded us and left us in those cells. No food, no water. They came often to piss on us. They were from Tripoli and Benghazi too.
One of us, a very old man, was begging for respect, but Senoussi abused him, putting a stick in his ... He hung himself later in the cell.
They kept on beating us up for five days. Two soldiers helped us by giving us mobiles to call our families and tell them where we are.
Later on, Senoussi came back with black African mercenaries to execute us on the gallows. They managed to hang three of us but they were interrupted. The protesters blew up the gates. As for Senoussi and his men, they were busy fleeing the compound. Some ran, some were killed, and some took us as hostages. We looked death in the eye.
And here Senoussi is in person, allegedly, sodomizing old men in an underground prison, alongside African mercenaries. And with Gaddafi's son, Saadi, who was in fact sent to Benghazi in the early days, ostensibly to negotiate with the rebels at large. But here he is, allegedly in the same dungeon, taking the time to order guards to rape these prisoners.
Yeeeaaaah... This FLV fairytale has been widely re-posted and repeated as "shocking," and joins the heap of thousands of such urban legends the world seems to just want to believe.
The final line in the video is spliced in out-of-order so it can close on the political implications, for the Gaddafi regime and family, of this extremely impure - alleged - behavior.
Saadi Gaddafi pushed his shoe in my mouth and told me "my father's honor is purer than that of you and your family.""Oh, that is such bull!", the viewer is intended to respond. And it's pretty clear that something here is. Consider the other allegations of rape hurled against the Libyan government in this three-month old campaign. Every time, it's mentioned how there'd be more such reports if it weren't for the social taboo in Libya (and, I think, in the Muslim world at large) against discussing sexual violence. Some women report being shunned by their husbands or families afterwards, and hypothetically, they could be bodily killed as the only way to cleanse the crime away. I'm not aware of that happening in Libya, but it shows how far the basic idea of sexual "dishonor" can go.
Consider too Arab attitudes towards homosexual behavior and it seems a little odd that here is this Katiba prisoner, telling the whole world of all this sexual abuse, falling silent only at the smallest, least necessary gaps ("they raped us," and "anus.") The guy next to him has his arm around him. "It's okay Buddy, we all accept you fine, it's not your fault. Raped by thugs, you need a hug. And to get it off your chest. Just tell all the world what they did to your butt, and how Gaddafi himself ordered it all right before your very ... no? We can't say that? He was live on TV in Tripoli? Well, how about ..."