Protesting One Year of Detention for American Hikers
Hundreds of people gathered last Saturday in several cities around the world to protest the year-long imprisonment of three young American hikers. The three individuals, who according to Iranian authorities crossed Iran’s western borders, were arrested on 31 July 2009. Though they claim to have crossed the border by accident, Iranian authorities have alluded to espionage charges against them on several occasions. Despite talks of an impending trial for the hikers in the past year, their case is still under the management of security organizations and no apparent progress has been made. Massoud Shafiee, the three hikers’ lawyer, told the Campaign that the case against them contains nothing but “illegal entry.”
The Iranian security, intelligence, and judicial authorities have been unresponsive about the year-long detention of the three Americans. Protests against this lack of responsiveness took place just as inside Iran, many family members of political prisoners appeared before the Prosecutor’s Office and the Hall of Justice in Tehran to protest the poor conditions of their loved ones in Evin prison. Several political prisoners have gone on hunger strikes in the past few days and there are reports of the deteriorating physical condition of several of them.
Families of the three hikers have been deprived from talking to their children. Even Shafiee, who assumed began representing them last December, has been unable to meet with his clients despite promises by officials from the Prosecutor’s office. Shafiee’s expected meetings have all been canceled at the last minute.
Families of Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer, were able to travel to Tehran on a 48-hour visa two months ago, where they met with their children for a few hours. There has been no further activity with respect to their cases since then. It is not clear why their cases have not been sent to trial.
Friends of the imprisoned Americans told the Campaign that a whole year after their arrest, they are so disappointed to see that their case has turned into a political game for the Iranian government. During the protests that took place in different cities, in addition to “Free The Hikers” t-shirts, many protesters wore “Peace with Iran,” and “Don’t Attack Iran” t-shirts.
Two of Sarah Shourd’s friends spoke with the Campaign. You can listen to the audio file here: [audio:https://iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/uploads/Hikers_friends_july31_ICHRI.mp3|titles=Interview with Sarah Shourd’s friends]