Peter Moore: Iran did not kidnap me
The British IT consultant held for three years by Shia militants has given his first interview
Peter Moore, the British IT consultant kidnapped on May 29, 2007 in Iraq and held hostage for three years by Shia extremists, has spoken about his ordeal. In the first interview about his time in captivity, Moore says he was held in Basra - not in Iran, as many reports had claimed - and denies there was any significant Iranian link to the group beyond some covert funding.
The 36-year-old, who was finally released on December 30 last year, told the Times today that he had suffered torture including being hung by his arms from a door, dousings with water and mock executions. Bizarrely, later in his captivity he played ping-pong with one of the men holding him.
To conquer the boredom of being held with only a television for company, Moore says he counted dots on curtains, invented an imaginary tube map on the wall and indulged in fantasies about motorcycling. "I would pretend that I wasn't there. I pretended I was in a bike shop negotiating which motorbike to buy," he told the paper. He also invented a wife to try to win the sympathy of his guards – a Brazilian malaria doctor he began almost to believe in himself – and pretended to be Catholic.
US military intelligence has asserted that the captured men – Moore was taken with four security guards, all subsequently executed – did spend some time in Iran.
It was also alleged they had been taken there within 24 hours of capture and held there throughout. But Moore was only willing to concede that he might briefly have crossed into Iran and out again. He told the Times: "We could hear a train and there were loads of mortars going off around us, loads of explosions. It definitely wasn't Iran."
Moore believes he was held for most of his captivity in Basra, but also spent time in Baghdad, Hilla and Karbala – all cities in Iraq. He also dismisses the suggestion the kidnap was orchestrated by Iran's Republican Guard, insisting the kidnappers – a group calling themselves the League of the Righteous - were "Iraqi resistance" with "representation" in Iraq's government.
According to the Times, Moore is remarkably collected for somebody who has suffered such an ordeal. He plans to visit friends in Guyana and then take a motorbike tour of New Zealand. ·