March 10th, 2010
07:49 AM ET

Families: Detained U.S. hikers call home in 'positive signal'

Three U.S. hikers who were detained in Iran have spoken by phone with their relatives for the first time since authorities jailed them more than seven months ago, the hikers' families said Wednesday.

Authorities in Iran allowed Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal to call their relatives on Tuesday, their families said.

"It was a tremendous relief to hear their voices at last and know that Shane, Sarah and Josh are keeping well and staying strong," the families said in a statement.

"We believe the calls are a positive signal that their long detention may soon be over after these many months of anguish and uncertainty."

The Americans were detained July 31 after, according to their families, they accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while on a hiking trip in Kurdistan. They are being held on espionage charges.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has told the country's semi-official Fars News Agency that Iran plans to put the hikers on trial.

The United States has appealed to Iranian leaders to release the three as soon as possible, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

In their statement Wednesday, the relatives appealed "to the Iranian  authorities to show compassion and allow our families to be reunited in joy and happiness as well."

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Filed under: Iran • World
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Brenda

    As an American living abroad for 17 years and having traveled extensively, I am proud of the fact that the US government supprts all Americans, wherever we are. On the other hand, travel warnings and advisories are available "at a click" and should be respected for obvious reasons. Therefore, as proud as I am that the USA has gone to this extent to secure the release of these individuals, I think it is irresponsible for Americans to go on a hiking trip in a place like Iraq, and accidently wander into forbidden territorities. What has this cost the American taxpayers? Still, I pray for their release and homecoming.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dp

    I agree Brenda, but spending 7 months in captivity for an accident seems a bit excessive. If Iran doesn't want them, deport them back to the USA! Free the hikers now.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. JoJo

    Their telephone call wasn't but a good excuse from Iran, that the 3 hickers are doing allright. I don't see any release in sight. They going to be a bargaining chip when the tough get going in Iran. The North Korean released the two journalists because for the first time an American President landed in North Korea. I bet if Clinton makes a surprise visit to Iran, they will be with him on his return.

    April 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |