An Australian hostage freed this month in Iraq said he felt like a traitor when he was forced at gunpoint to make a video plea for the United States and Australia to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
Douglas Wood, 63, a civil engineer, spent 47 days in captivity before being rescued June 15 by Iraqi soldiers who found him during an unrelated raid on a Baghdad house.
In an interview broadcast on Australian television Sunday, Wood said he was lured to what he thought was a business meeting and captured by "opportunists" who thought they had kidnapped a foreigner with access to a lot of money.
His two assistants were bound, gagged and forced to kneel with guns pointed to their heads as Wood was ordered to make a plea to a camera for the United States and Australia to withdraw their forces from Iraq. The assistants were later killed.
"My strongest emotion was that of a traitor, for saying, even daring to say, to the president and prime minister that they should take the troops out," said Wood, a contractor based in California.
Wood said he was transferred to another house, where he shared a room with other hostages, including a Swedish oil worker, Ulf Hjertstrom, and three Iraqis. He said two other Iraqi hostages were later shot.
Hjertstrom, who shared the room with Wood but was released by his captors after four weeks, said the two men pretended to sleep to try to avoid being picked for execution.
Hjertstrom, who said he would return to Iraq, told the Ten Network that he had hired people to try to track down the kidnappers.
"I invested about $50,000 so far. And we will get them one by one," he said.
Wood recalled his rescue, saying that at first he thought operatives working with al Qaeda had come to take him away.
"I heard this commotion outside. There's a violent noise. I'm just conscious of it," Wood said. "I'm thinking maybe the bloody al Qaeda has turned up and decided to take over. It means cut-my-throat time again."
But a man came over, pulled the blanket from Wood's head and said he was from the Iraqi army. Wood was then taken outside and handed over to an American officer.