FREE SHANE AND JOSH:
An Urgent Plea for Compassion
THE HIKERS’ STORY:
Iranian forces detained Shane Bauer, his fiancée Sarah Shourd and their close friend Josh Fattal on July 31, 2009 while they were enjoying a recreational hike in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Sarah, 32, was released on September 14, 2010, on humanitarian grounds after spending 410 days in solitary confinement and immediately vowed to work for the freedom of Shane and Josh, both 28. All three were charged shortly before Sarah’s release with illegal entry and espionage at a hearing in Evin Prison in Tehran where they were finally allowed to meet their lawyer for only the first time.
Shane, Sarah and Josh are innocent of any crime and, as Amnesty International reports, their extended pre-trial detention is a violation of Iranian and international law. Their detention is arbitrary and inhumane and we call on the Iranian authorities to show Shane and Josh the same compassion they have shown Sarah and release them without further delay.
Shane and Josh have been allowed to telephone their families only once, on March 9, and have not been allowed to send letters. The mothers of Shane, Sarah and Josh traveled to Iran in May 2010 to visit them but were allowed to stay for only two days.
Shane, Sarah, and Josh are all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley. They care greatly about our world and have a documented record as advocates for social and environmental justice. They admire and respect different cultures and religions and share a love of travel that has taken them to many countries. That is why they went to Iraqi Kurdistan, not because they wanted to enter Iran.