Ex-Iranian Hostages on Sailors' Comments

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 2, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: New tapes were released over the weekend of the British soldiers held in Iran, and they are raising the same questions since the start of the standoff: Are they OK? Are they being treated well? And were the messages of them apologizing for being in Iranians waters coerced? Let's listen to the hostages in their own words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I operate out of frigate Foxtrot 99, using two sea boats that look like this called Pacifics. And we were arrested in this location here. Yes, I'd like to say to the Iranian people, I can understand why you were so angry about our intrusion into your waters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it happened back in 2004, and our government promised that it wouldn't happen again. And, again, I deeply apologize for entering the waters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the morning of Friday, the 23rd of March, at approximately half-eight, we left Coalition Warship Foxtrot 99. Our task, our two boats was to go up the area around this Persian Gulf area around here. And approximately about 10:00 in the morning, we were seized, apparently at this point here from their maps, from the GPS they've shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters.


COLMES: Joining us now, two people who understand the situation that these hostages are in all too well, we are joined by Moorehead Kennedy and Don Sharer, both of whom were held hostage in Iran. We welcome you both, Don, back to the show. Thank you for being with us again.

And, Moorehead, let me go to you first, though, and ask you, you know, a lot of people do compare what we're experiencing now and what we're seeing — they're starting to compare it to the ordeal you went through. Do you think that's a fair comparison?

MOOREHEAD KENNEDY, FORMER IRANIAN EMBASSY HOSTAGE: Well, in certain respects, yes, in the sense that you have some very young people, obviously, who are not prepared, not trained by their own services, or what they were going to encounter in captivity. Certainly nobody expected that of us.

Certainly, an awful lot of people felt like they should write whatever — in our situation, that they should write whatever our captors told them to or say what they wanted them to say in the hope that that would make life easier. So as far as that's concerned, yes, there are comparisons.

But, of course, there is a very major difference in that there was a much larger group of us. There were civilians, as well. And with all these differences, I think I would say that, yes, there are some very real comparisons.

COLMES: Don, let me go to you on this and ask you, from what you saw on this tape, this is now the second set of videos to be released. Does it seem like coercion to you? And what level of coercion are we talking about? Don, go ahead.

KENNEDY: Well, I was going to say the whole situation is coercive. You don't really need to tell people in that situation very much before they become very, very scared.

COLMES: Let me get Mr. Sharer's response, if I could. Don, go ahead.

DON SHARER, FORMER IRANIAN EMBASSY HOSTAGE: Well, I think behind the cameras there's coercion. I think they've been pressed before they got on camera about what they should say and, by golly, if you don't, you're going to be tried and sent up the river and possibly executed.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Don, is that the right thing to do? I don't know even why this is a debatable issue in the minds of some. It's not for me. Should they just listen to what their captors are asking them to say? And should the world just understand that this is propaganda and that it's coercion?

SHARER: In my mind, it's not the right thing to do. I grew up in the name-ranked serial man number generation, and I think you should be stalwart right up to the point that you're really actually going to get killed, and then you say, "OK, what do you want me to say?"

HANNITY: It's possible that they're going through that, no?

SHARER: It sure is possible. You never know what these Revolutionary Guards are going to do. I heard you discuss earlier about the Iranian diplomat up in Tehran saying they're not hostages and left the door open for release. If the Revolutionary Guard doesn't want to do that, they're not going to do it.

KENNEDY: Let me — can I jump in there?

HANNITY: Yes, sir. Go ahead, Moorehead.

KENNEDY: The thing is that there is nothing as useless to a captor as a dead hostage. The chances of their being executed is very slim indeed, because once they're dead, there's nothing you can do with them. What you want is nice, chubby, fat, well-fed, happy-looking people who are grateful for the nice treatment they're getting.

HANNITY: All right. But let me ask you, Moorehead and Don. I'll start with you, Don, because when your group was held hostage for 444 days, there were reports of, you know, interrogations that lasted for days.

KENNEDY: That's right.

HANNITY: There was talk of repeated beatings, talk of solitary confinement for extended period of times, mock executions. Did that happen to both of you, Don?

SHARER: Well, there were 52 of us, and everybody went through a different experience. I went through interrogations; I went through some torture; I went through solitary confinement. And my food was less than some people's, I'm sure. I lost about 30 pounds in jail.

HANNITY: Moorehead, what did you endure?

KENNEDY: Well, I endured — certainly, we were questioned. I wouldn't say it was a formal interrogation. We always had enough to eat, although I also lost 30 pounds. But I think, as far as I was concerned, it never occurred to me to give them the kind of propaganda they wanted.

COLMES: Gentlemen, we've got to end it right there. We thank you both.

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