Hostages: one shower a week

Even though the US Embassy hostages are allowed only one shower and 25 minutes of fresh air a week, at least a few still spunkily resist the idea of captivity.

"We're not prisoners of war," several of the 50 embassy hostages reportedly told a visitor from the International Committee of the Red Cross who handed them standard prisoner communication forms for messages home. But homesickness finally defeated political principle, and they accepted the forms.

These new details of the April 14 Red Cross visit have emerged in comments from Iranian sources and Western Officials outside Iran who are familiar with the visiting delegation's findings.

The Tehran representative of the International Red Cross, Harald Schmid de Grueneck, has repeatedly declined detailed comment on the mission because this would violate Red Cross rules.

He has said only that he is confident that he saw all the American hostages and that all seemed in generally good health.

But the latest reports indicate at least some problems.

The hostages, the Monitor has learned, are allowed to shower only once a week. They can stroll outside less than half an hour each seven days.

Some captives are said to have complained about snags in getting mail out to their families.

Mr. de Grueneck apparently plans to intercede on these points. After his embassy visit he told reporters that he would "have further talks with the students in order to improve what has to be improved."

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