British computer expert Peter Moore, held captive in Iraq for 2-1/2 years until his release in December, has said he was tortured and subjected to mock executions by a well-trained kidnap gang.

In an interview with the Times newspaper, Moore said his kidnappers had links with the Iraqi government and denied U.S. intelligence assessments that he had been held for part of the time in Iran.

He said he and his four British guards were seized from an Iraqi Finance Ministry building in Baghdad in May 2007 by dozens of men in the uniforms of Iraqi security forces.

They were Iraqi resistance. They have representation in the government, he said.

Moore denied the gang was acting on the orders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The only Iranian link is that there is an interest in Iran, probably covert funding by Iran, he told the Times.

His captors were convinced he was a military intelligence officer and questioned him for hours, he said.

Three of Moore's British guards were killed by their captors, and the fourth was believed to have been killed although his body was never returned.

Moore said he endured several mock executions and spent two years of his captivity on his own, living in cramped rooms and guarded by a rotating group of insurgents. At times he was forced to lie for weeks on a mat, sitting up only to eat and standing only to go to the toilet.

At other times he was chained by one ankle to a grille over a window, handcuffed and blindfolded.

At one point, they handcuffed me behind my back, stood me on a chair next to a door, put my hands over the top of the door, pulled down on the handcuffs and kicked the chair away, he said. That was quite painful.

On another occasion, his captors put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, firing a real round from another weapon at the same time.

I remember thinking I'm dead. It's not that bad. It's not that painful. And then, hold on, I'm handcuffed and still blindfolded and I can hear people laughing.

Moore said his kidnappers made it clear they wanted several leaders of their group -- the League of the Righteous -- held by the Americans to be released in exchange for him.

Several of the group's members were among batches of Iraqis freed from U.S. detention and eventually, at the end of December, Moore was driven to a rendezvous with an Iraqi MP and told he was being released.

He said he did not believe he was being set free until he was taken to the British embassy in Baghdad and felt safe only when he was back in Britain.