In an escalation to the crisis over the seizure of 15 British sailors and Marines, the Iranians have displayed them on television, apparently forcing the female sailor to read a public statement. The Iranians have also promised to release her as a goodwill gesture:
A letter allegedly written by a captured British sailor to her parents says she had "apparently" entered Iranian territorial waters, the Iranian Embassy in London said Wednesday.
The letter was addressed to the parents of Faye Turney, one of the 15 British sailors captured by Iranian forces after they allegedly trespassed in Iranian waters. An Iranian embassy official e-mailed a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, saying Turner wrote it on Wednesday. ...
Meanwhile, Iranian state TV showed video of some of the sailors and marines, including Turney, who wore a white tunic and a black head scarf and said the British boats "had trespassed" in Iranian waters.
"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," Turney said on the broadcast by Al-Alam, an Arabic-language, Iranian state-run television station that is carried across the Middle East.
"They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested, there was no harm, no aggression," she said.
Allahpundit and Power Line have more on the odd syntax used by Turney in her televised statement. It suggests that its true author has little familiarity with British English, or at least a tin ear for it. For some reason, the Iranians seem to feel that these video releases will somehow put minds at rest about the treatment of their abductees -- they did the same thing in 2004, and the effect was just as creepy and unbelievable then.
Plus, it amounts to another violation of the Geneva Convention. Convention III, Article 13 states:
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.
The US has been accused of violating this just for showing video of the capture of combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan. This cuts much closer to the mark. Clearly, the Iranians want to capitalize on the "public curiosity" of their prisoners, and they want to pressure the British government into acquiescence based on the publication of the videos. This goes with the potential violation of charging military personnel captured in uniform with espionage, which the Iranians have threatened to do.
Once again, we strain to hear the cries of those who display such sensitivity to the widest possible interpretation of the GC when the conduct of the US or its allies are in question. So far, we have not heard any outcry from a definite violation and the threat of another from a non-Western nation. If the GCs are only applicable to Western democracies, then perhaps the critics can just acknowledge that honestly.