Mothers Seek Information on Hiker’s Release

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Thursday September 09, 2010 - 07:21:00 PM

The mothers of three former University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran for more than a year said today they are seeking more information on reports that one of the detainees will be released Saturday. 

Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, have been imprisoned in Iran since July 31, 2009. 

The hikers' mothers are Nora Shourd of Oakland, Cindy Hickey of Pine City, Minn., and Laura Fattal of Elkins Park, Penn. 

The hikers' family members and friends say they were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. But Iran has accused them of espionage and has said that it plans to prosecute them, although no formal charges have been filed. 

In a joint statement, the mothers said, "We have seen the news reports and are urgently seeking further information. We hope and pray that the reports are true and that this signals the end of all three of our children's long and difficult detention." 

The mothers said, "Shane, Sarah and Josh are all innocent and we continue to call for their immediate release, so that they can return home together and be reunited with our families." 

Iran granted visas to the hikers' mothers in May and the mothers were allowed to visit the country for two nights and see their children on two locations. But the mothers returned without their children. 

On May 24, after their return to the U.S., the mothers announced that Shourd and Bauer are engaged to be married and intend to marry soon after they are released. 

Nora Shourd said last month that she's concerned about her daughter's health because her daughter told her that she discovered a lump on her breast. 

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said U.S. officials have unable to confirm reports from Iran that one of the detainees will be freed. 

Thompson said, "That's something that's unfolding" and the U.S. is trying to find the source for those reports. 

"We're waiting to see what the Iranians will do," she said. 

Thompson said, "We're calling for the release of all three young Americans."