Released hikers describe ordeal in Iran
Released American hikers Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal talk Sunday about their time in an Iranian prison.
September 25th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

Released hikers describe ordeal in Iran

"We lived in a world of lies and false hope," said Josh Fattal, an American who on Sunday described his and fellow hiker Shane Bauer's two years in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison as "the worst experience of our lives."

"They told us ... falsely that we would be given due process and access to our lawyer," Fattal said. "The most infuriating, they even told us that our families had stopped writing us."

Fattal said he and Bauer did not know they would be freed when guards at the prison led them - not blindfolded back to their small solitary cells as had been customary - but instead to a room downstairs to get fingerprinted and get their street clothes.

Then, they were brought to a room where they met Salem al-Ismaily, the envoy of Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The first thing that al-Ismaily said to the two, according to Fattal, was: "Let's go home."

Fattal and Bauer at one point launched a hunger strike "just to receive letters from our loved ones," Fattal told reporters.

In their two years in custody, Fattal said he and Bauer spoke to others on the phone for a total of 15 minutes and had a brief visit with their mothers. Besides that and sporadic conversations with their lawyer, they had no communication with the outside world.

Bauer said he and Fattal were detained by Iranian authorities not because they'd crossed an unmarked border between Iran and Iraq, but "because of our nationality."

"We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It's that simple," he said. "No evidence was ever presented against us. That is because there is no evidence and because we are completely innocent."

Bauer said he cannot bring himself to forgive Iran's government for its actions - not just against him and his fellow detained American hikers, but also against "so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience."

"If the Iranian government wants to change its image in the world, and ease international pressure, it should release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately," Bauer said.

"The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran," Bauer said. "The irony is that (fellow once-detained hikers) Sarah (Shourd), Josh (Fattal) and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran, which perpetuate this hostility."

He added that he believes that reports of abuses and poor conditions in CIA-run prisons, prisons inside the United States and at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "provide an excuse for other governments, including the government of Iran, to act in kind."

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Filed under: Iran • U.S.
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. noemi

    They lived in lies,decet and how was it any different Than america.oh ya u were in all 3 r idiots we paid 3.5 mill. 4 idiots do they have a clue how many homeless kid that money could help ? Not just 3 stupid a$$es that knew what they were doing give these stupids a lie detector test?water bord them and when the truth comes out put them in jail american jail for trustpassing onto someone elses land.then make these stupids pay back all that money and apologise foe being idiots.don't have any kids stupid realy shouldn't time go to mexico and go hicking.its a lot closer.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allie

      Excuse me, 'noemi', but that is easily the worst argument I have ever heard. Until you can spell, use proper grammar, and punctuate properly, don't bother posting. These three people have been through a lot of difficulties, and you have no right to say otherwise. You can't call them stupid (especially since you posted like an illiterate third grader). Josh, Shane and Sarah were traveling and doing something they enjoyed. Imagine you went on vacation to China 20 years ago and you accidentally crossed the border into Russia and you were arrested. It could have happened to anyone, and you should not be so rude as to pick them out and saying that it was not worth the $3.5 million to free them. When you think about it, $3.5 million was not a lot for our country. Especially since we are in four million times as much debt. Think before you post, and have some respect.

      September 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justme

    People, please stop repeating the same thing over and over again about why these people went hiking.
    You holed up in a safe place wherever you are (on Main street nearby McDonalds or Burger King) and have zero courage and curiosity and you think that everyone should be like you. You are pathetic.
    These peoples misfortune uncovered true suffering in Iran. Talk about that.

    September 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom W

    Wow. I sympathized with them, I was angry at Iran for kidnapping them, and I wanted to see the US storm in there and Do Something...

    But after reading "The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran," Bauer said. "The irony is that (fellow once-detained hikers) Sarah (Shourd), Josh (Fattal) and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran, which perpetuate this hostility.", I find myself aghast.

    They have seen, first hand, how countries like Iran treat foreigners. They have been kidnapped, held without a fair trail, and only released after political pressure from the rest of the world forced Iran to do something... and they still blame the United States for this?


    September 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • uup

      They were probably told they and their famiilies would get killed if they said anything less

      October 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. yehya toema

    I cannot believe that a normal person will go to hike on the noarders between Irq and Iran no way they are nor normal.Hope next time is not going to be Afganistan or on the noarders between north and south Korea!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cory

    These people are idiots. What's next in the news?

    October 17, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Cory,Thank you. Just the Truth. They are out now to make a bug..big bugs..Where did we go wrong??

      October 20, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
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