Iran Charges Three American Hikers With Espionage

November 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Three American hikers, taken into custody by Iranian authorities in July, as they were hiking near the border in Kurdistan, have now been charged with espionage, according to a report from Reuters. The families of the three Americans, all graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, just recently met with Secretary of State Clinton to discuss their childrens’ plight and to urge State Department officials to do every thing they can to secure their release.

According to the official IRNA news agency quoting a judiciary official, the three Americans were officially charged with espionage.

“The three are charged with espionage. Investigations continue into the three detained Americans in Iran,” Tehran general prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.

After Iran claimed the three crossed the border into Iran from the Kurdistan region of Iraq on July 31, they were detained and charged with “illegal entry,” and remained imprisoned without criminal charges, until now.

The three young Americans, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31 and Josh Fattal, 27, were on a five-day hiking trip to tour the region and were apparently near the Ahmed Awa waterfall when they were detained.

Bauer, who is fluent in Arabic, resides with Shourd in Damascus where they both have been studying Arabic and working as free-lance journalists. Fattal, who resides in Oregon was visiting the couple in Damascus.

Another friend, Shon Meckfessel was also visiting the pair, but stayed behind that day in a hotel, because he had a cold. “While going there might seem strange to Americans, the Kurdish territory is actually very beautiful and quite safe,” he said.

The three Americans have been allowed only two visits by Swiss diplomats who represent U.S. interests in Iran. Iran and the United States have not had formal diplomatic relations since the American hostage crisis in 1979.

The families of the detained Americans, launched a website www.freethehikers.org, to help free their children. The families posted a statement on the site appealing to Iranian authorities to release their children:

“If our children had known the border was there, they wouldn’t have crossed it. We continue to hope and believe that the Iranian authorities will realize that our children entered their country by accident and will return them to us.”


Comments

2 Responses to “Iran Charges Three American Hikers With Espionage”

  1. Sal on November 9th, 2009 9:42 pm

    Is it just me or is the media not giving this story nearly the attention it deserves? This whole thing is a travesty, and frankly, I can’t figure out why the Obama administration isn’t putting more pressure on the Iranian government to let these poor people go.

  2. usb kabel on November 10th, 2009 3:26 am

    Hi,
    It is tense moments for the families of the arrested hikers.I believe that they will be released successfully by the US gov. By the way,persons should be aware of where they are hiking to not get in any trouble.

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