Iran frees ailing American hiker Sarah Shourd from prison
September 14, 2010
(ChattahBox) - American hiker Sarah Shourd has been released from Iranian prison after being held for 14 months on espionage charges. She has been reportedly handed over to the Swiss Embassy, which handles United States interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, or ISNA. On Monday, Iranian officials said Shourd, 32, would be released on September 11 as part of the celebration marking the end of the Muslim celebration of Ramadan, because of her medical situation, then flip-flopped saying she’d be let go only after bail of $500,000 was paid.
It’s unclear where Iran got the guarantee of bail money, as American officials said they would not pay. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jaffari-Dowlatabadi said in a statement however that Shourd’s backers had put up a bank note for the $500,000. Shourd was detained while hiking with her fiancé Shane Bauer and a friend, Josh Fattal, in July of last year. The three hikers were picked up by guards, who eyewitnesses say crossed into Iraq over an unmarked border to drag them over into Iran. The arrest was overseen by a man now in prison for a number of brutal murders and kidnapping charges. Shourd reportedly has a serious gynecological condition and possibly a cancerous lump in her breast. She could still be put on trial for entering Iran. The other two hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, are still facing charges of espionage and there are no plans for their release, despite their 13 months behind bars.