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Flash: Berkeley Graduate Released by Iran

By Dan McMenamin
Tuesday September 14, 2010 - 11:26:00 AM

Iran has released Sarah Shourd, one of three University of California at Berkeley graduates detained in the country for more than a year. 

Shourd, 32, was captured in Iran on July 31, 2009, along with Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 28. The hikers' families and friends say they were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. 

Iran accused the three of espionage and said it planned to prosecute them, although no formal charges have been filed. 

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

The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the judge in thecae decided to allow Shourd to be released on $500,000 bail "because of her ailment," but said the arrest warrant for Bauer and Fattal has been extended for an extra two months. 

The families of the three hikers released a statement in response to the news that Shourd would be coming home. 

"All of our families are relieved and overjoyed that Sarah has atlas been released but we're also heartbroken that Shane and Josh are still being denied their freedom for no just cause," the statement read. 

Nora Shourd said in a separate statement, "I've hoped and prayed for this moment for 410 days and I cannot wait to wrap Sarah in my arms handhold her close when we are finally together again." 

The White House released a statement from President Obama this morning lauding Shourd's release but calling on Iran to release the other two hikers. 

"We salute the courage and strength of the Shourd, Bauer, and Fattal families, who have endured the unimaginable absence of their loved ones," Obama said. "We have gained strength from their resolve and will continue to do everything we can to secure the release of their loved ones." 

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said, "I have long argued that the detainment of these three young American citizens is illegitimate and contrary to a basic respect for human rights. 

"As we look forward to welcoming Sarah home, we must acknowledge that this tragedy will not be resolved until she is joined by her friends...who remain unfairly imprisoned and separated from the outside world," Lee said.