Archive for the ‘Jailed’ Category

Mothers of Jailed Hikers Given Visas

May 13, 2010

The mothers of the three American hikers who were arrested and jailed in July after they were picked up by Iranian authorities along the Iran-Iraq border told the Associated Press they received visas today and are set to travel to Tehran early next week in an attempt to see their children.

Josh Fattal, 27, Shane Bauer, 27 and Sarah Shourd, 31, are all UC Berkeley grads. They were picked up 10 months ago on charges that they were spies.

“We’re really over-the-top excited about this,” Nora Shourd–Sarah’s mother–told the AP. “I can barely breathe this morning. We’ve waited for this so long. And it’s going to be wonderful to see these kids, absolutely wonderful.”

In addition to visiting their imprisoned children, the three mothers expect to meet with their Iranian attorney and the Swiss ambassador in Iran; since the US and Iran have no official relations, negotiations are managed by the Swiss. The women also hope to meet with Iranian authorities, but their requests have not yet been answered.

Both Tehran and Washington have confirmed that the women were granted visas. Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki publicly stated that the visas were granted on humanitarian grounds.

Though the three have been in jail for 285 days, Iran has reportedly not yet tried them, or made formal charges against them. Critics believe the three are being used as bargaining chips, and give evidence to their claim by pointing out that the Iranian president in February offered to swap them for Iranians reportedly jailed in the U.S.

According to the AP report, Bauer is a freelance journalist who had been hired to cover the Kurdish elections in Iraq. At the time of his arrest, however, his family said he was taking a hiking trip with his friends. Bauer and Shourd were dating and had been living in Damascus, Syria, where she taught English and had written for various online publications. Their friend Fattal was visiting them after traveling overseas on a teaching fellowship.