Women's Rights & Movements in IranFaye's amazing hostage story

Faye’s amazing hostage story


The Sun: Freed British hostage Faye Turney told last night how she feared she was being measured for her coffin by her evil Iranian captors. The Sun

Defence Editor

FREED British hostage Faye Turney told last night how she feared she was being measured for her COFFIN by her evil Iranian captors.

The sickening charade was an act of mental torture — but to Navy sailor Faye it was terrifyingly real.

The 25-year-old mum was kept in total isolation for five of the 13 days she was held in Tehran.

She recalled: “One morning, I heard the noise of wood sawing and nails being hammered near my cell. I couldn’t work out what it was. Then a woman came into my cell to measure me up from head to toe with a tape.

“She shouted the measurements to a man outside. I was convinced they were making my coffin.”

Faye told how she was forced to write letters “confessing” to entering Iranian territorial waters — and how smiles seen on the faces of the captive sailors and Marines on TV were a cruel PARODY of the real situation.

But despite enduring hours of interrogation up to three times a day, she bravely refused to give away any military secrets. Faye told The Sun how she was:

• STRIPPED to her knickers — with the rest of her clothes and belongings taken away — and caged in a tiny freezing cell.

• WARNED she might not see her three-year-old daughter Molly again and asked how she felt about “dying for her government”.

• THREATENED with years in prison as a spy unless she did what her captors wanted.

But the most cruel trick played by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s henchmen was to separate Faye from her 14 male comrades and tell her they had all been sent home.

Recalling the moment, she said: “With a blindfold on, I was led away from the rest of the guys.

“All I could hear from behind me was one of them shout, ‘They’re going to execute us’.

“It was the first time I got really scared. I genuinely believed they might do it. I’d already been prodded in the side with a pistol. I asked, ‘What are you doing to them?’ But they didn’t answer me.

“I was thrown into a tiny little cell and ordered to strip off. They took everything from me apart from my knickers.

“Then some cotton pyjamas were thrown in for me to wear and four filthy blankets. The metal door slammed shut again.”

A few hours later, Faye was ordered to wrap a black Islamic cape around her before being shown to an office to meet the officer in charge.

She described him as a slimy-looking man whose tan leather shoes she will never forget. Faye, who lives in Plymouth, went on: “I asked him, ‘Where are my friends? I want to see them’. He replied, ‘What friends?’ I told him, ‘Mr Felix and Mr Chris’ (her officers Lieut Felix Carman and Captain Chris Air).

“He rubbed the top of my head and said with a smile, ‘Oh no, they’ve gone home. Just you now’.

“I was taken back to my cell again and that was my lowest moment. All I could think of was how completely alone I was. They could do anything now and nobody would know.

“At that moment I just totally lost it. All I could think of was what my family must be going through. What would my husband Adam be telling Molly? Did they even know I was missing? I cried my eyes out. I asked the guards about my friends but all they did was laugh at me.”

Faye spent almost all of her captivity in that room measuring just 6ft by 5ft 8ins. The walls were dirty white and cracked. There was not a stick of furniture. The only natural light was a thin window vent too high to see out of.

During the day she was left alone, passing the hours by playing imaginary noughts and crosses. She was even reduced to counting the 135 bricks in the walls, the 266 circles in the air vent and the 274½ squares in the ageing carpet. At night she was blindfolded and marched to a nearby interrogation room. Faye, who was captured with comrades from HMS Cornwall while piloting a small boat, said: “Every night, it was the same questions. Sometimes I’d have to go back two or three times. One session went on until 6am.

“They asked which were my ship’s ports of call, where were other coalition ships in the Gulf, how do Royal Navy ships protect themselves, how do we communicate, what was the US doing?

“That could have put my colleagues at risk, and there was no way in hell I was ever going to do that, no matter what they did.

“I told them, ‘How do I know? I’m just the bloody boat driver’. I tried to play the dumb blonde.”

As the days went on, the mind games intensified.

Faye went on: “The threats got more and more blatant. At one stage Mr Tan Shoes asked me, ‘How do you feel about dying for your country’?

“The next day, another interrogator said to me, ‘You don’t understand, you must co-operate with us. Do you not want to see your daughter again?’”

On Day Five, the pattern of interrogation suddenly changed.

Faye said: “Two new guys in suits arrived. They didn’t shout like the others. One said he had come to make me an offer.

“If I confessed to being in Iranian waters and wrote letters to my family, the British people and the Iranian people, I’d be free within two weeks.

“If I didn’t, they’d put me on trial for espionage and I’d go to prison for ‘several years’. I had just an hour to think about it.

“If I did it, I feared everyone in Britain would hate me. But I knew it was my one chance of fulfilling a promise to Molly that I’d be home for her birthday on May 8.

“I decided to take that chance, and write in such a way that my unit and my family would know it wasn’t the real me.”

In a coded sign she prayed would be seen, Faye referred to her ship by its pennant number, F99 — something sailors never do.

She said: “There was nothing damaging to security in anything I wrote, I made sure of that. And I never meant a word of it.”

On Day Six, she finally realised she was not alone, when one of the Marines held with her was suddenly pushed into her cell, greeting Faye with a huge hug.

Each of the captives had been given the same ultimatum — and each had eventually agreed.

On Day Ten, the prisoners were allowed to be together for a precious hour a night.

But Faye insisted: “We were only smiling in the TV pictures because we were relieved to see each other. We couldn’t help it.

“The Iranians knew this. That’s why they filmed us at that time.

“Then we were taken back to our cells — and were alone again.”

Faye revealed how she was inspired by pilot John Nichol and SAS sergeant and Sun security adviser Andy McNab.

Both survived after being held by Iraq during the first Gulf War, and Faye added: “I read those guys’ books when I was a teenager. Their stories gave me hope.”

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