UK soldiers 'confess' to trespassing

State TV: Sailors confess to trespassing into Iranian waters illegally.

British soldiers  (photo credit: Sky news)
British soldiers
(photo credit: Sky news)
Iran's official Arabic-language television channel on Sunday aired short video clips of what it said were two of the 15 captured British sailors who in the footage pointed to a map of the Persian Gulf. Government-run Al-Alam TV said the two sailors were identifying where their boat crossed into Iranian waters on March 23, leading to their capture. The two soldiers, who appeared in separate video clips wearing military fatigues and pointing at the same map, were talking to a camera, but Al-Alam did not air their voices. Instead, the newscaster said the two "have confessed" to trespassing into Iranian waters "illegally." The newscaster also gave more details about the incident, saying the 15 left their ship in a small boat in the morning of March 23 and entered the Iranian waters at 10 a.m. local time. The TV broadcast also said the captured sailors have said that they are receiving "good and humanitarian treatment." The video came as the British government said it was in direct contact with Iran over the captive crew and as hundreds of Islamist, hard-line Iranian students protested outside the British Embassy in Tehran. British Defense Secretary Des Browne said his government was in "direct, bilateral communication with the Iranians." A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said Browne was referring to letters and other contacts between diplomats, rather than any new face-to-face talks. Browne, on a visit to Afghanistan, said Britain had "the support of almost the whole international community" in calling for the release of its personnel. Al-Alam previously had broadcast more lengthy video footage on Friday of captured marine Nathan Thomas Summers. It that video, Summers admitted to trespassing in Iranian waters. "We illegally trespassed on Iran's territorial waters and were arrested by the Iranian border guards and I would like to apologize to the Iranian people for the issue," Summers said. He was shown sitting with another serviceman and the female British sailor Faye Turney against a floral curtain. Both servicemen wore camouflage fatigues with a Royal Navy label on their chests and a little British flag stitched to their left sleeves. Al-Alam also aired video on Wednesday showing Turney wearing a headscarf. "Obviously we trespassed," Turney said in the video. Britain has denounced the videos, calling them "propaganda" and "outrageous."