As secretary-general of the United Nations, I would sincerely hope that the Iranian government will again very favorably consider releasing the remaining two American hikers so that they could join their families as soon as possible.”
~Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
“We urgently appeal to the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal without further delay and show the same compassion to them that the Iranian authorities graciously extended to their companion Sarah Shourd.”
~Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Noam Chomsky
“I want to be perfectly clear: Sarah, Shane and Josh have never worked for the United States government. They are simply open-minded and adventurous young people who represent the best of America, and of the human spirit. They are teachers, artists, and advocates for social and environmental justice.”
~President Barack Hussein Obama
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. There are conflicting news reports about whether Iranian forces entered Iraq to arrest the three young Americans or they strayed across the poorly marked border by mistake.
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.