April 23rd, 2010
05:48 AM ET

Families: Detained hikers in Iran are in poor health

Two of three American hikers detained in Iran are in poor health and have discussed staging a hunger strike, their families said Friday.

The three - Sarah Shourd, 31; Shane Bauer, 27; and Josh Fattal, 27 - were detained last July and sent to Evin prison in Tehran. Their families said that Swiss diplomats were able to visit them Thursday, the first such visit in five months.

"We thank the Iranian authorities for allowing Shane, Sarah and Josh to receive another consular visit at long last, but we are alarmed to learn of their physical and emotional state of health and fear their well-being will suffer even more unless their case is resolved without delay," the families said in a statement Friday.

The United States, which has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979, has relied on Switzerland to appeal directly for the hikers' release.

The families say that the three friends, who are all graduates of the University of California and seasoned travelers, accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while on a hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran has said they will be put on trial.

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soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Richard Kadas

    While I personally have sympathy for three people being held captive as pawns in a geo-politicalpower struggle, I can't quite understand how they were so stupid as to get themselves enmeshed in an easily voidable situation. At this time, it seems that nothing less than a credible threat of military action will get them released.

    April 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    what makes sense in this situation is that they really are Israeli spies and crossed into iran to be arrested on purpose. this is another attempt by the Israeli government to force the United States into an armed conflict with Iran. Remember that the Israeli's are the ones that stole the plans for the Atomic bomb from us and gave it to the Russians.

    April 30, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Carolina Girl

    Maybe these three are "missionaries", trying to spread the "Word". Somthing is going on – no group of people can be that collectively foolish.

    I have heard of "missionaries" posing as aid workers who live with their young families in the countries bordering Iraq and Iran. Isn't this just modern day Colonialism?

    May 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris Maxwell

    These were not ordinary individuals just out on a day hike for enjoyment. They were not kids fresh out of high school but adults who graduated from college aged 27 and 31. Two of these individuals lived in Damascus studying Arabic. Shane Bauer was a free lance journalist working for the Pacific News Service sent to Iraq to cover elections in northern Iraq's self ruled Kurdish region. He decided on his own to go in search of a news story with his girlfriend taking no maps or guides. They ran into the third individual while on their journey. All of these people were fully aware of the dangerous situation they were in but they persisted. The Iranians captured them and rightly assumed they were working for the CIA considering what these people did for a living. Imagine Iranian individuals with the same credentials wandering across the Mexican border. The US would assume they were terrorists.

    These three will come back home write books, get movie contracts for their story and get filthy rich. Then some other idiots will get the idea to do the same thing!

    May 13, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    Building on what Chris Maxwell said, my theory about these guys was that they did indeed deliberately cross the border and hoped to propel their journalistic careers by writing about their experience in Iranian captivity. I am sure that's how it will work out eventually... but I bet they weren't banking on being detained for more than a year.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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