Libyan rebels search a house in Tripoli, Libya, on Aug. 24, 2011 (Francois Mori / AP)
Fathi Sherrif is surprisingly good-humored for a man who spent 13 days struggling to breathe inside a steel container. "There was no food. No toilet. 'You don't have to pray because you don't know Allah. Gaddafi knows Allah.' — That's what they'd say to us," he says of his captors. Sherrif and his five brothers were thrown in jail last March for offering covert support to Libya's then nascent rebellion. But when the rebels breached the walls of Ain Zara prison two weeks ago, the 49-year-old businessman emerged as an influential player in the new Libya. His self-appointed task: hunting senior officials of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.