British IT consultant talks of his three years as an Iraqi hostage
Days of PlayStation, systems design and mock executions
Peter Moore, the British IT consultant who spent 946 days as a hostage in Iraq, has been telling users of Reddit.com about the highs and lows of his stint as the country's longest-serving hostage.
Moore, an IT consultant who specializes in overseas work in developing countries, spent 31 months as a captive of Shi'ite militia group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or the "League of the Righteous." He was abducted from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in May 2007 along with four British guards, none of whom survived.
"I thought I was going to die every day, but once I knew the guards had been killed I really thought that I would never get out," he said.
Moore explained that he was hired for a three-month posting in Baghdad with American IT consulting firm BearingPoint. Moore said he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq but "believed he could make a difference"' in the country. He was hired to develop spending reports from the computer system used within the Ministry of Finance.
But barely a month into the job Moore was abducted by a large group of Iraqi policemen, although fortunately local workers managed to hide his British colleague in the raid. Moore and his four guards were not so lucky.
Moore said he was taken because the militia thought he was a member of the intelligence services, and they kept him as a hostage so he could be traded for those imprisoned by coalition forces.
Moore said that the group only realized they were being abducted when they were driven to a market place in Sadr City, stripped to their underwear and bundled into a van. He then spent the next year blindfolded and chained in solitary confinement being fed water and rice and unable to move much, which left Moore with serious muscle wastage problems.
"I tried to be let out to go to the toilet three times a day, but some of the guards would not let me do that," he said. "Once I had to pee into a bottle and then they made me drink it. In late 2007 I got dysentery and that caused a problem."
Moore said he was also regularly beaten by some of the guards. He received a skull fracture in one session, broken ribs from another, had his teeth broken by an AK47 hit, and his legs were cut with glass. He was also injected with an unknown substance on two occasions and guards subjected him to a mock execution.
"Mock executions - all good stuff," he said. "I was moved around every couple of months. One time they took me outside, knelt me down, put a gun to my head and pulls (sic) the trigger. At the same time they fired another gun off behind my back. I thought I was dead."
After a year his blindfold was removed and Moore said that he kept himself occupied by mentally building himself a new computer, using curves in the curtains to formulate mathematical problems, designing metro systems by using spots on the wall, or holding long conversations with his pillow about his passion for motorbikes or IT jobs he might take in the future.
"It's funny, when I had to move to another location they threw it away (it wasn't in good condition) and I was upset over that," he said.
In his second year of captivity he was moved to the upstairs room of a family house and his conditions improved, he said, with better quality food and a more relaxed regime. He said one of the happiest days of his incarceration was when the guards unchained him and he could walk around the room for the first time since being taken hostage.
His arms and shoulders ached for months after the years of being chained up he said, but it was a relief to be able to move around. However he was also tempted to use his new-found freedom to take his own life.
"I was going to use the chain. I thought it was very fitting to hang myself using the chain that they had kept me in for two years," he said. "The only reason I did not go through with it is because I would not be able to see the reaction of the Iraqis as they walked in and saw me hanging there."
His colleagues were already dead. Two of the British guards had escaped from the house in which they were being held captive and had been shot in the street, while a third had been killed trying to steal his captor's gun. The fourth was shot by the militia when they thought the house they were in was being raided.
"They told me that they were killed," he said. "One of my regrets is not pushing harder for the exact circumstances of each one, but at the time I remember thinking that 'they are dead and there is nothing I can do to change that, I just need to concentrate on myself now.'"
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