Perhaps, like me, you remember hearing about three American hikers who were detained in Iran in 2009. And maybe, like I did, you sort of vaguely assumed that the situation had been resolved long ago.
Well, we were wrong. A friend of theirs wrote to me the other day, and it turns out that nearly two years later, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are still in prison in Iran. The third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on humanitarian grounds last September. All three are charged with illegal entry (they were hiking near an unmarked border between Iraq and Iran) and with espionage.
Bauer and Fattal were due in court yesterday morning, and their families were hopeful that they would finally be freed. Instead, they were not brought to the courthouse, and the hearing was postponed indefinitely. Their lawyer, Masoud Shafii, was not able to meet with them and has not been able to discover the reason for the postponement.
Baseless accusations and subsequent egregious rights abuses against young men are not uncommon in Iran. As one friend from there points out, this is a country where “everyone knows at least one young dude who has disappeared or been overtly extrajudicially executed.” However, in Bauer and Fattal’s case, the arbitrary violation of their rights is almost certainly grounded in an attempt to piss off America, rather than run of the mill regime paranoia.
My thoughts are with these guys and their families, and yours should be too. For more information, check out Free the Hikers.