Families of American Hikers Detained in Iran Hire Lawyer

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:32:00 AM

The families of the three UC Berkeley alums detained in Iran for illegally crossing over the border announced Dec. 27 that they have hired a prominent Iranian lawyer to help bring them home.  

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were hiking in neighboring Iraq when they crossed into Iran by mistake, their families said.  

The families’ announcement about hiring independent lawyer Masoud Shafii follows statements made by Iranian government officials that the three hikers would stand trial in Iran for their actions.  

“We continue to hope that the Iranian authorities will release Shane, Sarah and Josh on humanitarian grounds without further delay or any need for a trial,” a statement released by the families on the website www.freethehikers.org said. “Given recent news reports, however, it is essential for our loved ones to have proper legal representation and we are pleased that Mr. Shafii has agreed to work on their behalf.”  

Bauer, Shourd and Fattal were detained on July 31, 2009, and are being held at Evin Prison in Tehran. According to the statement, they are not being allowed to make telephone calls to their families.  

Shafii previously represented two Iranian physicians who were convicted in January for participating in a U.S.-backed plot to unseat Iran's Islamic regime.