The Observer | Anger as hostages sell stories to highest bidders
The 15 British military hostages released by Iran were accused last night of cashing in on the ordeal by selling their stories in a string of lucrative media deals.
Amelia Hill and Jamie Doward | Sunday April 8, 2007
The sailors, who spent 13 days in captivity and at times feared for their lives, have been given permission by the Ministry of Defence to give exclusive interviews. The MoD justified lifting the ban on military personnel selling their stories while in service because of the ’exceptional circumstances’ involved.
The former captives are expected to make around £250,000 between them. Faye Turney, the 26-year-old seawoman, is likely to get the most profitable deal. She is said to have sold her story for £150,000 in a joint contract with a newspaper and ITV.
Colonel Bob Stewart, a British commander of United Nations forces in Bosnia, told the Sunday Times that the MoD had turned a military disaster into a media circus. ’The released hostages are behaving like reality TV stars,’ he said. ’I am appalled that the MoD is encouraging them to profit in this way.’
Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed by a bomb in Iraq, said : ’This is wrong and I don’t think it should be allowed by the MoD. None of the parents who have lost loved ones in Iraq have sold their stories.’
One of the ex-hostages reportedly wanted £70,000 for his story. There were reports that the Royal Marines were planning to sell the vases given to them in their ’goody bags’ by the Iranians on eBay. The father of one of the hostages said the MoD had suggested the servicemen ’Go out there, tell the truth and make the money.’
It emerged yesterday that Iranian intelligence officers told the 15 captives they first became suspicious about their activities after watching an interview with one of them on British television.
Families of the hostages said their loved ones had told them the Iranians had made the claim soon after capturing them. On 13 March - 10 days before the Britons was seized - Channel 5 broadcast an interview with Captain Chris Air, one of the captured Royal Marines, in which he stated that his crew’s role was to liaise with Iraqi vessels to ’let them know we are here to protect them, protect their fishing and to stop any terrorism or any piracy in the area’.