British Sailor Apologizes for Trespassing in Iranian Waters

ByABC News via via logo

March 30, 2007 — -- A Royal Marine rifleman, one of 15 British service members being held captive in Iran, apologized today on government television for entering Iranian waters "without permission."

Looking stiff and uncomfortable, Nathan Thomas Summers stared into an Iranian television camera and apologized for entering Iranian territory.

"We entered Iranian waters without permission and were arrested by Iranian border guards, and I would like to apologize to the Iranian people for this," Summers said.

Iranian officials called it a confession, but British officials called statements like this coerced and cruel.

Iran also released a third letter allegedly written by the lone woman captive sailor, Faye Turney, in which she said she had been "sacrificed" to the policies of the British and U.S. governments.

The second letter from Turney, released earlier, said she was doing well, but added a new demand that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraq.

The British government called the move propaganda.

There are new pictures of the moment the British crew was captured, with helicopters circling and Turney smoking a cigarette. The United Nations has now expressed grave concern at the sailors' detention.

As hard-liners in Tehran called for the prisoners' execution, Robert Phipps, an analyst trained in reading body language, looked for hints that the captives could have been mistreated or coerced.

In Turney's forced smile and slow speech, he saw worrisome signs.

"This is delivered very slow, very monotonous, almost monosyllabic," Phipps said. "It's a message for other people. It's not a message that she would want to put out."

Iran has sent a formal note to the British ambassador in Tehran. Britain is seriously considering the message, possibly suggesting a forum to prevent this from happening in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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