A Marine sergeant wounded one year ago when Iranians attacked the American Embassy in Tehran alleged yesterday that he was tortured, placed on trial for 10 minutes on murder and espionage charges and threatened with execution by revolutionaries who held him for a week.
In a $60 million damage suit filed against the Iranian government in U.S. District Court here, Sgt. Kenneth Kraus claimed he was handcuffed, blindfolded and abducted from a hospital bed in Tehran shortly after the attack last February. He said he was taken to a military compound and then to the Islamic Revolutionary Prison.
Kraus' lawsuit stems from the first siege of the American Embassy, on Feb. 14, 1979, when guerrillas attacked the chancery building and killed an Iranian employe during two hours of intense shooting. The embassy was returned to U.S. control, and then was recaptured by Iranian militants Nov. 4. Kraus was not among the Americans taken hostage in that incident.
Two Marines taken captive in the Novemenber assault and released later that month also have filed a $60 million damage suit against the Iranian government in federal court here.
And an assortment of U.S. banks and corporations have filed billions of dollars in claims against Iranian assets in the United States, which have been frozen by President Carter.
Iranian revolutionary authorities released Krause, 23, a week after the February 1979 attack.
The allegations in his lawsuit sharply contradicted statements he made at the time of his release about his treatment by Iranian authorities. Evacuated to Frankfurt, West Germany, shortly after his release, Kraus told reporters then that "they treated me like every othe prisoner got treated . . . They didn't beat me, but they didn't go out of their way to make me feel at home either."
George P. Wood, an attorney for Kraus, said last night that his client had been requested by U.S. diplomats in public statements about his detention. Wood said anything he said at that time should be discounted.
In the suit filed yesterday, Krause, now stationed in Willow Grove, Pa., alleged that when he was taken from the hospital he was slapped in the face, physically assaulted and stripped. At the military compound, where he was held for two days and nights, Krause alleged, he was clothed only in a blanket, fed a cup of tea, a piece of bread and some water each day and continually interrogated.
At the Islamic Revolutionary Prison, Krause alleged in the suit, he was held in a small cell with 25 Iranian prisoners, repeatedly interrogated, and beaten on the head with a rifle when he refused to sign anti-American, anti-shah statements and other documents supporting the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
In the prison, Kraus alleged, his legs were held and his feet beaten until he lost consciousness. On another occasion, a rifle barrel was forced into his mouth and the trigger pulled. Kraus said it was only at this point that he realized the weapon was not loaded. He also alleged that 20 of his interrogators spat on him and otherwise physically abused him.
During the time he was held at the prison, Kraus alleged, he was interrogated by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Council. Kraus also said that at one point he was questioned by members of the palestine liberation Organization.
Six days after the February embassy attack, Kraus claimed, he was tried by the Islamic Revolutionary Court without a defense lawyer on murder and espionage charges and on charges that he trained agents of SAVAK, the shah's secret police. Two hours after the 10-minute trial, Kraus alleged, he was found guilty of all charges and told he would be shot. The next day, however, he said in the lawsuit, he was released to U.S. diplomats.
The day Kraus was released, it was reported that a high Iranian official said Kraus was under investigation for crimes allegedly committed during the embassy attack.
Kraus alleged in court papers that he was injured at the embassy when he refused to answer questions from the attackers, who he contended wore armbands identifying them as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Council. In the lawsuit, Kraus said the assault was carried out by supporters of Khomeini and Marxist guerrillas of the Cherikhaye Fedaye Khalag (People's Sacrifice Guerrillas).
At the embassy, Kraus alleged, he and other Marine guards and American civilians were placed against a wall to be shot, but one of the attackers' commanders prevented it. During interrogation at the embassy, Kraus alleged, he was punched, poked in the ear with a bayonet, threatened and beaten with a rifle.
While he was on the ground, Kraus alleged, one of his attackers put a rifle to Kraus' head and fired. The shot ricocheted off the floor, striking him in the face, chest, neck and left arm, Kraus said in the suit. He was then carried away in a blanket, to the hospital, Kraus said.
Spokesmen at the Iranian Embassy here could not be reached for comment yesterday. The State Department had no comment on the lawsuit.