September 29th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Chavez: I asked Ahmadinejad for hikers' release, at actor's behest

[Updated at 3:53 p.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday he called and sent a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking for the release of detained American hikers at the behest of actor Sean Penn.

Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released from an Iranian prison last week, after 781 days in captivity.

Chavez said he considers Penn a friend, and after the two spoke about the hikers, he agreed to add his voice directly with the Iranian president.

"If this call and message helped a little, I am glad. Even if it didn't," he said.

Fattal, Bauer and Bauer's now-fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were arrested in July 2009, with Iran saying they strayed across the unmarked border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. Shourd was released in 2010.

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Filed under: Iran • Venezuela
soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. jkINC

    Apparently Mr. Hand made an impression. But befriending Chavez? Pssssst Sean, HE'S A DICTATOR!

    September 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • GOP = LOL

      Chaves is a good man. He is not a dictator. He was democraticaly elected by 78% of the Venezuelan people.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OMGR

    Thou shalt not politicaly move in greed

    September 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RES

    TO joe: you should be the one leaving the country. U and the narrow minded right wing are the problem with this great country.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. what?

    and you sir should to learn to READ the lines

    September 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |

    Mr. Hand would be proud.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mychele

    The people who criticize the hikers probably have never taken a hike or wanted to visit a beautiful place outside of their cars in their entire lives. They were all living and working close-by, were outdoorsy, and wanted to see part of the world that few people visit. Borders are so disputed in parts of the world that these crazy mixups happen, and since we and Ahmadinejad are having words, the hikers paid the price. Thanks to Sean Penn and others who intervened and injected some humanity into the whole political shell-game.
    As to those whose only exercise is to type hate here, please, go take a hike.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      C'mon, really. These kids had too much money and not enough brains. There are plenty of places in the US and in friendly countries that they could have hiked. However, they wanted to be special There is a risk involved with seeing this part of the world that few people see. They gambled and lost. It's hard to pity a fool. Those that criticized the hikers probably appreciate this country and its parks more than you can understand.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • harhar

      @DC. Come on man, even Mr. T pitied the fool.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doug

    Does anyone on here really believe this?

    September 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kirk

    This is old news reported on other websites. Get with it CNN.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • calinfidel

      They're rehashing old stories to avoid reporting about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have been going on nearly two weeks now. Corporate Media is worthless.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    I really don't understand why Sean Penn is getting so much criticism on these comments for taking the time out of his life to try and help free 2 Americans who were wrongfully detained. He seems like a good American to me and we need more people like him in our country.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DeeDee

    Who cares what Penn did? He's another Pinko like his father.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mychele II

    yeah, take a hike in Iran.......

    September 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. coder

    first truly compassionate ting i've ever heard coming from chavez – thanks dude

    September 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LWolpert

    I'm sure the $1M ransom ("bail") helped too. Ahmadinejad is a joke, not even the clerics of his own country respect him.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Petey

    This is some weird stuff. Penn, Chavez and Ahmadinejad are all tight? This is like the adult version of some evil cadre of high school band dorks. All the ostracized losers end up being friends by default.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Reality

    RIIIIIIGHT... and I'm sure the ONE MILLION DOLLARS had nothing to do with their release.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
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