Photographs and video clips have been circulating on the Internet showing Libyan civilians dragging the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens through the streets of Benghazi.
It was hard to say at first what was happening. Were these people dragging him through the streets like a grim trophy, or were they trying to save him?
It turns out they were trying to save him.
Fahd al-Bakoush, a freelance videographer, was among the Libyan civilians roaming freely through the consulate after gunmen and protesters rampaged through it last Tuesday night. Al-Bakoush said he heard someone call out that he had tripped over a dead body.
A group of people gathered as several men pulled the seemingly lifeless form from the room. They saw he was alive and a foreigner, though no one knew who he was, al-Bakoush said.
He was breathing and his eyelids flickered, he said. “He was alive,” he said. “No doubt. His face was blackened and he was like a paralyzed person.”
Video taken by al-Bakoush and posted on YouTube shows Stevens being carried out of a dark room through a window with a raised shutter by a crowd of men. “The man is alive. Move out of the way,” others shout. “Just bring him out, man.”
“Move, move, he is still alive!”
“Alive, Alive! God is great,” the crowd erupts, while someone calls to take Stevens to a car.
The next scene shows Stevens lying on a tile floor, with one man touching his neck to check his pulse.
The video has been authenticated since Stevens’ face is clearly visible and he is wearing the same white t-shirt seen in authenticated photos of him being carried away on another man’s shoulders, presumably moments later. Two colleagues of al-Bakoush who also witnessed the scene confirmed that he took the footage.