3 American Hikers Detained In Iran

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Iran Reportedly Cancels Release of Detained American

Postby Todd » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:13 pm

Iran Reportedly Cancels Release of Detained American

Published September 10, 2010


Iran has cancelled the planned release of a detained American woman because the legal process has not been completed, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted as saying on Friday.

"Because the legal procedure on her case is not finished, her release is cancelled," the ILNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Iran had said it would release Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans detained near Iran's border with Iraq in July 2009, on Saturday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said earlier on Friday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had intervened in the planned release of Shourd who, along with the two other detained Americans, has been accused of spying.

"The reports (on her release) cannot be confirmed by the judiciary and of course any decision on the named suspects depends on taking the legal procedure," he said.

Dolatabadi did not say when she would be freed.

Intelligence Minister Haidar Moslehi has said Tehran has proof the three Americans had links to intelligence services. He said last month the investigation into the spying allegations would be completed soon.

The families of Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal say they were on a mountain hike in northern Iraq at the time of their arrest. Washington says the spying allegations are unfounded.

Iran had said the three would be put on trial, without giving a date. They have not been formally charged but under Iran's Islamic law, espionage can be punishable by execution.

Journalists have been invited to attend a ceremony on Saturday at the Esteqlal Hotel in Tehran for the release of Shourd.

Washington, which cut diplomatic ties with Iran after its 1979 Islamic revolution, called on Thursday for the immediate release of all three, saying they had committed no crime.

Their case has further complicated relations between Tehran and Washington already fraught over Iran's nuclear activities.

Western powers suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic energy programme. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February the three U.S. citizens might be released in exchange for Iranians jailed in the United States.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/09/10 ... 612718973/
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American Hiker Released

Postby Todd » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:59 pm

Iran's state TV says US woman has been freed after more than a year in prison

Published September 14, 2010

| Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Postby Todd » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:49 pm

Freed hiker thanks Oman for helping get her out of Iran

Freed American hiker Sarah Shourd thanked the Omani people Saturday for helping secure her release from Iran, saying that she will associate Oman with her "first breath of freedom."

Addressing journalists before leaving Oman to return home to the United States, Shourd said she hoped her fiance, Shane Bauer, and her friend Josh Fattal, still jailed in a Tehran prison, will soon be free.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/18/fr ... an/?hpt=T2
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Postby Todd » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:35 pm

AP Interview: Hiker talks of year in Iran prison

By SAMANTHA GROSS
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Her 410 days of solitary confinement in an Iranian prison were mostly cramped quarters and endless monotony, but Sarah Shourd chooses to savor the few moments of joy: a proposal from her boyfriend and a birthday celebration complete with a chocolate cake.

Shourd, her boyfriend Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were captured in 2009 while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border. Shourd talked about her experiences Thursday with The Associated Press in one of her first interviews since her release on Sept. 14 after officials in Oman mediated bail.

One of her happiest days, she said, was the celebration of her 32nd birthday last month. Somehow the men, who remain in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, had persuaded a guard into bringing her the cake and even found a way to give her a whiff of liberty.

They talked her through a whole imaginary day that they called a "freedom walk" - from waking up and having pancakes, to going to a lake, then walking to her mother's apartment. When they came to the part of their story where the apartment door opened, Bauer and Fattal spun Shourd around.

"They had brought all the pictures we had of our family and put them on these boxes, so everyone was there, and it was a surprise party. It was beautiful," she said, her voice catching. "I cried."

But most days in prison were far more monotonous - or terrifying.

She recalled how the three made a vow while blindfolded in a prison van shortly after their capture: If they were separated, they would go on hunger strike until they were reunited.

Shourd starved herself for four days, lying alone in her cell and growing weaker. In prison, she kept reviewing her last day of freedom. What could they have done differently? What if, when they asked a tea vendor near a waterfall for advice on a hiking path, they had gone another way?

On the fourth day, the hikers were reunited for five minutes. Shourd began eating again, but their captivity was just beginning.

Alone in her cell, Shourd began going over multiplication tables in her head. It was the only way she could keep out thoughts of her mother. Of whether she knew where her daughter was. Of how worried she must be. Of whether they would see each other again.

If she thought of her mother, she began to fall apart, Shourd recalled.

"I just had to be sure that I was strong when I went into the interrogation room because I wanted to make sure that I didn't, that they didn't manipulate me into saying anything that I didn't want to say," she said.

She wondered whether she'd be hurt. If suddenly the door might open and she'd be dragged away.

Instead, a few times a day, a female guard would come bearing layers of extra clothing and a blindfold, so when Shourd arrived at the interrogation room she couldn't see the faces of her questioners.

She was amazed at their "good cop, bad cop" approach, just like on TV shows back in the U.S.

They had her write down what felt like every detail of her life, from her childhood in Los Angeles to her time living with Bauer in Syria, where she taught English and Bauer, a native of Onamia, Minn., was a freelance journalist. Fattal, who grew up in Pennsylvania, had come to the Middle East to visit them.

Over two months, she wrote hundreds of pages, she said. When she would finish writing an answer to a question, an interrogator would tell her "this is not good enough" and tear up her words. She would write again, and again hear the pages tear.

"I would just write it the same every time," she said.

They questioned her about her e-mails and about her Skype contacts, looking for any indication she had intended to come to Iran.

Should says she'd been missing the green mountains of the U.S. after a year in Syria. She and Bauer had heard from friends that the lush lands of northern Iraq had been largely untouched by the war. So they and Fattal traveled to Ahmed Awa waterfall, where they found hundreds of Kurdish families eating at restaurants and camping.

The first indication they were near the Iran border was three hours into their hike when they met Iranian officials on a trail leading from the waterfall. By then, it was too late.

Shourd tried to resist her imprisonment at first. She constantly yelled, cried or begged her captors for a phone call. She was confined to her 10-foot-by-5-foot cell. At night, the bit of sunlight from the window would dim, but the lights stayed on.

Eventually, the interrogations ended. The two men were moved into a cell together. The three Americans were allowed to see each other, at first for 30 minutes each day, then for an hour, then for two.

The trio had local TV, including 15 minutes of English-language news every day. They received a bundle of letters from their parents and siblings about once a month. And they had books in English. Shourd read the Quran, using her basic Arabic to communicate haltingly with some Farsi-speaking guards about religion.

Shourd would spend all day saving up details to tell the other two. At first, the three went over what they called "reruns" - reviewing every memory of their lives in tremendous detail. When those ran out, they started to dream of the future and what they would do on the outside.

Some plans were bigger than others.

On one evening, Bauer asked Fattal to stay in their cell during their allotted time outdoors, so that the couple could have a moment alone.

The two sat on a rough wool mat, cockroaches skittering around them and dust filling the air. They held hands, and Bauer asked her to marry him. He made them engagement rings from two thin pieces of string.

"It's not what every person thinks of as romantic, but it was romantic for me," Shourd said.

And now, she is back on the outside, appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," preparing for a tour of TV studios, a bit of string tied around her finger.

She feels some guilt, she said, but she pushes that aside. She learned in prison how to ignore negative emotions.

She thinks of the men, of the strong, supportive faces they put on when they learned only she would leave. She still doesn't know who paid her $500,000 bail, though she said an Omani official told her of an Iranian citizen who attempted to mortgage his home to pay it.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told the AP that he hopes Bauer and Fattal would be able to provide evidence that "they had no ill intention in crossing the border" so that they can be released. Iran has issued espionage-related indictments against the three of them, which could bring trials for the two men and proceedings in absentia for Shourd, although she says she hasn't ruled out returning to face trial.

She wants the world to see Bauer and Fatal, who are passing long days in a cramped space not much larger than a towel.

Shourd said they exercised to stay sane. There were days she would force herself to run or do jumping jacks despite the tears streaming down her face.

The men got even more inventive. They would lift their beds. They would stockpile water bottles, fill them with water, pile them into bags and lift them. They were intent on staying strong.

Part of her wishes she were still with them. Out here she can't protect them. She doesn't know that the books are still available or whether the guards are still being kind.

"The only thing that gives my freedom meaning is that I have this work to do, because honestly if I felt like there was nothing to do out here, if I wasn't needed in so many ways, I would have rather stayed with them," she said.

But out here, she can be their voice. She can do her best to make sure the world doesn't forget. She will be tireless, she said.

And until they're at her side, "my life will not resume."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/ ... TE=DEFAULT
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Iran Summons American Woman for February Trial

Postby Todd » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:16 pm

Iran Summons American Woman for February Trial

Published January 31, 2011

Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has summoned an American woman to return to the country and stand trial on Feb. 6 along with two other Americans still in custody and accused of spying after crossing the border from Iraq, a judiciary spokesman said Monday.

Their families say the Americans were just intrepid travelers out on a hike in northern Iraq's scenic -- and relatively peaceful -- Kurdish region when they were arrested on July 31, 2009. The only woman among them, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail in September and returned to the United States.

The U.S. government has denied the charges against them and demanded their release. Their lengthy detention has added to tensions between the two nations over issues like Iran's disputed nuclear program.

After her release, Shourd said in an interview with the New York Times that the three inadvertently crossed the unmarked border because a guard of unknown nationality gestured for them to approach.

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has summoned Shourd to return and stand trial, said judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi in remarks carried on the state news agency, IRNA.
Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in prison in Iran.

Shourd, from Oakland, California, has not disclosed any plans to return for trial. Iran has warned it will seize the $500,000 bail if she does not return. Who provided the bail money that was paid as part of a deal brokered by the Gulf sultanate of Oman has never been clear.

Ejehi, who is also Iran's state prosecutor, said the trial date, already postponed before, could be delayed again if the lawyer for the defendants requests more time.

Initially, Tehran accused the three Americans only of illegally crossing into Iran, but later added espionage charges. Authorities have given few details to support the accusations.

Tehran's chief prosecutor has claimed, without elaborating, that the Americans had "equipment and documents and received training."

The three Americans are graduates of the University of California at Berkeley. Shourd and Bauer had been living together in Damascus, Syria, where Bauer was working as a freelance journalist and Shourd as an English teacher. Fattal, an environmental activist, went to visit them in July 2009.

Bauer is a native of Onamia, Minnesota, and Fattal grew up in Pennsylvania.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/01/31 ... ary-trial/
---------------------------
"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
Todd
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Re: 3 American Hikers Detained In Iran

Postby Todd » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:50 pm

The remaining two hostages were freed after paying a $500,000 ransom. Of course they don't call it a ransom, that would be politically incorrect, they are calling it bail....
---------------------------
"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
Todd
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Posts: 14434
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2001 12:00 am
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