American Hikers in Poor Health, Families Request Immediate Release

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 5:18 am


Swiss diplomats were granted access to the three American hikers being detained in Iran, including Minnesota native Shane Bauer, whose mother Cindy Hickey lives in Pine City.  The visit was the first  allowed to diplomats in five months.

After the visit, the Americans’ families said in a statement that two of the three are in poor health and all three have spoken of going on a hunger strike until they are released.

“We urge Iran to live up to its promises instead of denying our families the fundamental right to visit our loved ones in jail. The emotional pain we’re suffering because of this makes us feel like we too are being punished for no good reason – just as Shane, Sarah and Josh are being deprived of their freedom for no good reason,” the families said.

Bauer and Fattal are being held in the same cell, Shourd is in a cell by herself.  The Americans have been detained in Iran since July 31st.

The mothers of the three Americans applied for visas in January with the hope they could go visit their children.  Diplomats told them, twice, the visas were approved, but they have not been issued.

“Letters are a lifeline of strength and love for Shane, Sarah and Josh and they specifically asked friends and supporters to continue writing to them. They are aware of the hard work everyone is doing to win their release and know about the Free the Hikers website, and they are incredibly appreciative,” the families said. “All of us are also extremely grateful to the Swiss Ambassador and her colleagues in Iran for their persistence in trying to ensure that our loved ones’ consular rights are respected.”

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