Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update: Two Imprisoned US Citizens Released in Iran, Leave for Airport

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, who have been held in Iran on illegal entry and spying charges for the last two years, were released from Iran's notorious Evin Prison earlier today and are en-route to the airport with Omani and Swiss officials, the latter of which represents US interests in Iran.

The two Americans were released after an Iranian judge signed documents approving the payment of a penalty of $1 million on their behalf, according to their attorney, who said that Oman had arranged for the payment.

COMMENT: Bauer and Fattal have insisted that they mistakenly wandered across the border from Iraq while hiking in July 2009. The Americans were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court on August 21 to eight years in prison.

Bauer’s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, a U.S. citizen who was arrested with them, was released in September 2010 on $500,000 bail. Prior to their detention, Shourd and Bauer had lived together in Syria’s capital, Damascus, where she learned Arabic and taught English, according to http://www.freethehikers.org, a website set up to help gain their freedom.

Fattal is an environmentalist who was visiting Damascus before they headed to Iraq, according to the website.

As I have said in the past, what normal person goes hiking in Iraq and in close proximity to the Iranian border? Citizens of all nations who foolishly get themselves into avoidable predicaments should be responsible enough to take steps to not become a liability to their governments and to subject themselves to preventable hardship.

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