Peter Moore, former hostage in Iraq, talks about life in captivity

October 27, 2012

In 2007, a group of armed men backed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard captured a computer consultant named Peter Moore in Baghdad, along with four British security guards, and imprisoned them.

Moore, from Lincoln in England, was released 31 months later, after the U.S. military agreed to release a Shia cleric, in December 2009, but his four countrymen were killed. Moore later recounted his life in captivity, which consisted of near-daily beatings, mock executions and having to spend years not being able clearly because his captors confiscated his glasses. 

Moore took questions from users of Reddit on Saturday about his experience. Here are some highlights from the discussion, which is a fascinating look into life as a hostage:

Peter Moore's self-uploaded picture on Reddit
Peter Moore's self-uploaded picture on Reddit

If you had it to do over again would you have accepted the posting?

Obviously, I wouldn't have gone if I knew that I was going to be taken hostage, but I work in IT in developing countries, so I guess "yes" I would have accepted the posting

What was the worst moment of captivity? And besides being free again what was the best?

In 2009, after I knew the others were dead, I was taken out of the chains that I had been kept in for two years. I thought it would be fitting to hang myself using the chain. The best bit was after the first year then they took the handcuffs off and allowed me to stand up

You weren't allowed to stand up? What was that like?

For nearly a year I was handcuffed, chained & blindfolded so I couldn't move much. I got very sick and lost all of my muscles, when they took the handcuffs off my back and shoulders hurt for months.

Do you suffer from any form of post-traumatic stress disorder after the whole ordeal?

I was checked out by a military psych when I got out and I was given the all clear, but I have my moments. I usually only get flashbacks a couple of times a day now, whereas it used to two or three times a minute.

How did you stay sane?

In the final year I had a T.V. and Playstation, so that helped. Once I was out of the blindfold I used to join dots on the wall pretending they were metro stations and I designed a new computer. I would also try to solve mathematical problems with shapes on the curtain and conduct job interviews with my pillow.

How has life changed for you after this?

My work ethic has changed completely. I used to be a workaholic, now I only work a few months each year and holiday the rest.

Besides being released and seeing your family, what did you desire/crave/wish for the most?

For some reason garlic bread was what I wanted most.

Did the captors ever reveal why everyone was murdered but you? 

They told me that they were killed either because they tried to escape or because they were being held in a house that the militia thought was being raided. 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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Max Fisher · October 27, 2012