AFP: The youngest British captive held by Iran said in an interview published Monday that the gifts the Iranians gave to the seized sailors were a cheap load of old junk — and they stole his iPod. LONDON, April 9, 2007 (AFP) – The youngest British captive held by Iran said in an interview published Monday that the gifts the Iranians gave to the seized sailors were a cheap load of old junk — and they stole his iPod.
Royal Navy Able Seaman Arthur Batchelor, 20, said the suits they were given were “tacky,” the CDs and DVDs do not work and there was no sign of his iPod portable media player, worth 160 pounds (315 dollars, 235 euros).
The 15 sailors and marines, seized in the northern Gulf on March 23, were given the gifts when their 13-day ordeal at the hands of the Revolutionary Guards ended. They were seen examining them in Iranian television footage.
The 11 books Batchelor was given were in English and mostly aimed at trying to convert the reader to Islam, with titles like “Youth and Morals”, “The Divine Intervention” and “Knowing God”. He also received some toffees and a bag of nuts.
“They’re a bit pathetic,” Batchelor told the Daily Mirror newspaper of the gifts.
“I don’t know what they’re trying to prove by giving us books on morality and their religion. My morals are fine, thank you very much.
“And those suits were an insult. Not only did mine not fit, but it was cheap and tacky and the Hugo Boss shirt was a fake. I could pick up a better outfit at a jumble sale.”
When captured, the Revolutionary Guards seized all the navy personnel’s belongings.
The Britons were on a United Nations mandate to conduct anti-smuggling operations within Iraqi waters. Iran insists they were within its waters.
“The iPod was really special to me as it was a gift,” said Batchelor, an operator maintainer.
“It was in a pocket in my overalls. The guards took everything off us — including cigarettes and watches.
“All we were left with was the clothes on our back. We were told we’d get them back — but I’m still waiting.”