In an amazing exclusive, The Sleaze has learned that a group of Britons controversially held by the Greek authorities on espionage charges earlier this year are not, as they had first claimed, plane spotters. The revelation came when Lenny English, spokesperson for the group, complained about the prison conditions in Greece. “They’re a bloody disgrace,” he told the press. “We were held in a ten by ten cell which was kept spotlessly clean and was well lit from a large window. At no point were we abused by guards or other inmates. I deliberately dropped my soap seven times in the showers, and was not buggered once as I bent down to pick it up! I don’t know what this country is coming to – back in the days of the Colonel’s regime you could look forward to a bloody good beating in the police cells when you were arrested and a lengthy torture session in jail later! The sooner we’re out of here the better!”

It subsequently emerged that the seven are part of a group of UK S&M enthusiasts who regularly visit the world’s most notorious and repressive regimes and deliberately try to get arrested in order to sample local prison brutality. The group were arrested at a Greek air Force base for allegedly taking pictures of top secret military aircraft. “We thought they were on to us then, as the plane we were looking at was a 1938 Tiger Moth biplane and we didn’t have any film in our cameras anyway,” Jemima Suit, the only woman in the group, has claimed. She has also been highly critical of the lack of harsh punishments for minor misdemeanours and brutal lesbian encounters with sadistic leather-clad warders in Greece’s female prisons. “They don’t even strip you naked and publicly hose you down in the prison yard with icy water any more – they’ve got indoor showers with hot and cold running water instead. I know Greece is the cradle of civilisation, but this is just ridiculous!” The group – who are likely to be released within the next few days and deported from Greece – say that they are disgusted by their treatment, and are adamant that they will never holiday there again. “The place has declined terribly since civilian rule was restored,” says sixty two year old Edward Topp, the oldest member of the group. “When I was last here in the early 1970s the military were still in control and I remember getting a damn good beating with rubber hoses just for spitting in the street! Next year I’m going back to Turkey – at least you can be sure of being sodomised by the authorities there!”

Lenny English agrees wholeheartedly, describing Turkey as a “veritable paradise” for pain-seekers. “Back in 1994 I was arrested for taking photographs of a top secret combat kebab van and was immediately thrown into the most unhygienic prison imaginable, and clapped in irons for six days before I was even charged,” he enthuses. “Within the first three days of captivity I’d been buggered seven times – twice by the inmates, four times by the guards and once by a mule they kept tied up in the prison yard! There were also regular beatings with broom-handles, hoses and truncheons and I once had both my nipples burned with a lighted cigarette!” However, Turkey remains a rare oasis of brutality in a world gradually turning toward human rights and humane punishment regimes. “There are very few places you can get a guaranteed beating in Europe any more – Albania and the former Yugoslav states perhaps. But visas for such places are very hard to get,” laments English. “Even South America is going the soft liberal democratic way now. I remember the days when Argentina offered some of the finest electric cattle prod treatment in the world! Chile, also, was famed for its mastery of electrical torture devices – I well remember having my pubic hair singed off after having electrodes attached to my balls and being connected to Chile’s national power grid! Over in the Caribbean, by contrast, they favour the old ways; I once had both my feet broken with a lump hammer in Grenada, whilst I’ve heard that in Haiti it is still possible to get your testicles nailed to a chair by the local voodoo torturers.”

Edward Topp believes that the new Islamic fundamentalist regimes currently offer some of the most inventive punishments available. “I remember going to Lebanon in the 1980s and being kidnapped by fundamentalists,” he recalls. “I had a most pleasurable six months chained to a radiator being regularly urinated on by evil-smelling and hugely bearded Arabs – I had to keep smuggling out messages to my family not to pay the ransom.” A subsequent trip to Pakistan to photograph secret missile installations yielded some of the most satisfying punishments of the veteran Topp’s forty year career in masochism. “I was held in a Karachi hell-hole where they alternately deep fried my genitals in batter like a piece of cod, and packed them in ice until they went blue,” he reminisces fondly. “Finally, they subjected me to a ritual stoning in the prison courtyard before deporting me!”

Group spokesperson Lenny English denies that there is anything strange or perverse in their behaviour. “We’re just a group of friends who like to indulge in our favourite hobbies whilst on holiday every year – preferably in an unusual location. We’re no more unusual than train spotters or aircraft enthusiasts who spend their spare time riding around Europe on trains and planes or hanging around stations and airports during their summer holidays,” he says. “Frankly, our overseas excursions represent incredible value for money! We get the kind of treatment we’d have to pay thousands for in Britain – torture by professionals, incarceration in a real prison, regular beatings! All for the price of an air ticket!” He laments the passing of corporal punishment in the UK. “If only they’d bring back birchings, canings and the public stocks, far more people of our ilk would choose to holiday in Britain instead of going abroad,” he muses. “It would give a much needed boost to the domestic tourist industry after the foot and mouth crisis, as I’m sure that plenty of foreign masochists would love the chance to sample the quaint delights of British brutality in our historic Victorian prisons.”