Iran releases video of released British navy crew

Al-Alam TV says "the sailors had complete liberty during their detention, contradicting the sailor's declaration after return to the UK."

british sailors 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
british sailors 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iran broadcast video Sunday showing a British navy crew playing chess and watching television during their nearly two-week captivity, saying the footage refutes claims by the sailors and marines that they were mistreated. The new video comes two days after several of the crew told reporters they had been blindfolded, isolated in cold stone cells, tricked into fearing execution, and coerced into falsely saying they had entered Iranian waters. The eight sailors and seven marines were released last week after 13 days in captivity. The video clips, which were briefly aired on Iran's state-run Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Alam, showed several of the sailors and marines dressed in track suits playing chess and table tennis. In the footage, crew members could be heard laughing and chatting. Other short clips showed the crew watching soccer on TV and eating at a long dining table that had vases filled with flowers on it. The newscaster, who spoke over the beginning of the footage, said the video proved "the sailors had complete liberty during their detention, which contradicts what the sailors declared after they arrived in Britain." The crew reported having been under constant psychological pressure and being threatened with seven years in prison if they did not say they intruded into Iranian waters. Lt. Felix Carman, who was in charge of the crew when they were captured March 23, said they were rarely allowed to socialize and when they were, it was for the benefit of the Iranian media. "We were kept in isolation until the last few nights, when we were allowed to get together for a few hours, in the full glare of the Iranian media," Carman said at a news conference Friday. "But that was very much a setup, very much a stunt for Iranian propaganda." In the video broadcast Sunday, Carman could be seen wearing a business suit and smiling at the camera. The male crew members were seen dressed in business suits on the day Iran announced they would be released. Iran has dismissed the sailors' news conference as propaganda - just as Britain condemned the crew members' frequent appearances on Iranian TV during their captivity. Two days before their release, Tehran had pledged not to show more videos of the captured crew.