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Sarah Shourd, hiker held in Iran, released

According to Reuters, freethehikers.org, and numerous news reports, Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers held in Iran for the past year on espionage charges, has been released from prison in Tehran today.

Shourd and her male companions Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal were arrested in July 2009 near the Iranian border and initially accused of entering Iran illegally. The three Americans and their families contend they were on a mountain hike in northern Iraq at the time of their arrest.

Iran subsequently accused them of spying, but American officials say the espionage accusations are groundless.

Bauer and Fattal remain in jail in Iran.

 

Watch video from The Guardian:

 

More info:


Filed under: People & Organizations

Comments

GaryPalmer
200 reviewer rep
3,917 forum posts
September 14, 2010 at 12:11 p.m. (EDT)

Two questions:

Why would anyone want to hike in Iran when the country is in wartime?

Why would the US government allow anyone to go to Iran?

Bill S
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,219 reviewer rep
5,180 forum posts
September 14, 2010 at 12:47 p.m. (EDT)

According to the news reports, someone paid the half-million ransom, though at this point it is not clear who put up the money.

trouthunter
MODERATOR TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
884 reviewer rep
3,432 forum posts
September 14, 2010 at 11:29 p.m. (EDT)

If memory serves me correctly, this is not the first time hostages have been taken and used for political purposes by Iran or it's minions.

I don't think we even know for sure they actually crossed the border before they were apprehended.

I am glad they let Sarah go, hopefully the others will be freed soon.

Too bad we can't go get them.

Paully
0 reviewer rep
80 forum posts
September 15, 2010 at 1:22 a.m. (EDT)

If memory serves me correctly, this is not the first time hostages have been taken and used for political purposes by Iran or it's minions.

No disrespect intended, but that's a very slanted view of history. Do you not recall the backdoor deals made with Iran by the Reagan-Bush team in October 1980?

I don't wish to enter a political debate here, but I wouldn't play the American righteousness card on the hostage abduction angle. America are seen by many in the international community as the architects of modern day overt and covert political manipulation, both inside and out.

alan
0 reviewer rep
1,073 forum posts
September 15, 2010 at 2:32 p.m. (EDT)

I haven't followed the story much, but it is possible they actually were spying. I have no idea one way or the other, but it is certainly possible the hikers are guilty. That said, I am glad she was released and hope the others are released as well.

tommangan
0 reviewer rep
415 forum posts
September 17, 2010 at 5:03 p.m. (EDT)

I've seen a lack of sympathy bordering on vindictiveness from some quarters when the subject of these hikers comes up.

I can't help thinking that the folly of hiking near a dangerous border does not remotely merit a punishment of a year in a foreign prison, held as a pawn in an international power game.

Just a guess but I suspect they learned their lesson after the first week or so.

trouthunter
MODERATOR TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
884 reviewer rep
3,432 forum posts
September 17, 2010 at 5:56 p.m. (EDT)

trouthunter said:

If memory serves me correctly, this is not the first time hostages have been taken and used for political purposes by Iran or it's minions.

No disrespect intended, but that's a very slanted view of history. Do you not recall the backdoor deals made with Iran by the Reagan-Bush team in October 1980?

I don't wish to enter a political debate here, but I wouldn't play the American righteousness card on the hostage abduction angle. America are seen by many in the international community as the architects of modern day overt and covert political manipulation, both inside and out.

It's not a slanted view by any means Paully, I'm quite clear on the history. The question is, what is the intent behind the actions, is it to promote freedom, or to promote oppression & suffering.

By "back door deals" I assume you are referring to William Casey and the alleged meeting in Europe?

trouthunter
MODERATOR TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
884 reviewer rep
3,432 forum posts
September 17, 2010 at 6:04 p.m. (EDT)

I haven't followed the story much, but it is possible they actually were spying. I have no idea one way or the other, but it is certainly possible the hikers are guilty. That said, I am glad she was released and hope the others are released as well.

Hey alan,

It is conceivable they were spying, I have no earthly idea. I don't know anything about them or their backgrounds. I tend to think they were just hikers who exercised bad judgment.

But I agree, it is good she was released.

triplestone
31 reviewer rep
19 forum posts
September 19, 2010 at 4:30 a.m. (EDT)

Two questions:

Why would anyone want to hike in Iran when the country is in wartime?

Why would the US government allow anyone to go to Iran?

Paully
0 reviewer rep
80 forum posts
September 19, 2010 at 11:40 p.m. (EDT)

I've seen a lack of sympathy bordering on vindictiveness from some quarters when the subject of these hikers comes up.

I can't help thinking that the folly of hiking near a dangerous border does not remotely merit a punishment of a year in a foreign prison, held as a pawn in an international power game.

Just a guess but I suspect they learned their lesson after the first week or so.

How about individuals held at a Guantanamo Bay type prison on "suspicion" for years on end without ever being formally charged ?

It's good that the woman was released, but if you're traveling in a foreign country you play by their rules. The only consistency in these parts is the mind boggling inconsistency.

Paully
0 reviewer rep
80 forum posts
September 20, 2010 at 12:29 a.m. (EDT)

Paully said:

trouthunter said:

If memory serves me correctly, this is not the first time hostages have been taken and used for political purposes by Iran or it's minions.

No disrespect intended, but that's a very slanted view of history. Do you not recall the backdoor deals made with Iran by the Reagan-Bush team in October 1980?

I don't wish to enter a political debate here, but I wouldn't play the American righteousness card on the hostage abduction angle. America are seen by many in the international community as the architects of modern day overt and covert political manipulation, both inside and out.

It's not a slanted view by any means Paully, I'm quite clear on the history. The question is, what is the intent behind the actions, is it to promote freedom, or to promote oppression & suffering.

By "back door deals" I assume you are referring to William Casey and the alleged meeting in Europe?

I'm not being obtuse but I am not following you. What do you mean by "what is the intent behind the actions"?

I took your comment to relate to the hostage situation in Iran in 1980 and my response was to William Casey's "Bohemian Grove alibi". If you were referring to the more recent situation in April 2007, then as the Independent printed the day after Fox News' Bill O'Reilly ignorantly tried to publicly disgrace retired Colonel Ann Wright;

“A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.”

The lack of balancing of the facts is, from my limited understanding, a very common problem in America is it not? I get the impression, like this quote from American media implies, that the general consensus is;

Iran = bad for holding hostages.
U.S. = innocent victim hopelessly caught up in an Iranian revolution (against a U.S.-sponsored brutal dictator, but that was never mentioned in the media) who merely wants for everyone to live in harmony.

I was preparing for a trip in a Sunni territory when Saddam Hussein was executed in December 2006. With me were 2 other Aussies and two Canadians. We had to travel incognito until outside the city and have our passports in our hands ready to prove that we weren't American. It was a very tense time. We were doing nothing wrong and had travel permits to be there but none of that matters if relations are strained by direct or indirect sources.

Alicia MacLeay (Alicia)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
471 reviewer rep
2,910 forum posts
September 22, 2010 at 4:58 p.m. (EDT)

Oprah has Sarah Shroud on her show tomorrow, Thursday, September 23:
http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/American-Hiker-Sarah-Shourd-and-the-Craigslist-Rape-Victim

Check your local listings for times. It's probably around 4 p.m.

(I don't watch Oprah, but I am a wee bit interested in this interview.)


In the meantime you can watch this press conference:

trouthunter
MODERATOR TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
884 reviewer rep
3,432 forum posts
September 22, 2010 at 8:12 p.m. (EDT)

Paully,

I will answer your questions, but a debate on this subject is not feasible on a forum of this nature, and there is not enough time in the day for either one of us to cover this much material in depth.

I will say that I understand your viewpoint, although I disagree. I would hope that we can discuss matters related to back country travel despite our differing views.

What I meant by "the intent behind the actions" is that Americans (and our allies!) enjoy freedom and liberty because we collectively do not tolerate anything less. We understand what it takes to protect, & maintain freedom and also to reestablish it by force on behalf of others, for all our sakes. I also understand that doesn't make it okay to do whatever we want.

We cherish our liberties as I'm sure you do. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, but why is it that so many people harp on our mistakes when other governments and dictatorships do the same and much, much worse as standard operating procedure and are defended for it by people who sit on their hands and live in total apathy with regards to the danger of letting evil go unchecked. You would think that they would at least have learned the dangers of doing so by watching movies like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings.

I was referring in part to the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis, but also to the thousands of abductions, be-headings, plane hijackings, suicide bombings, ethnic cleansings, the torture, mutilation, and brutal oppression of women & girls, I could go on. This is how these dictatorships and theocracies operate all the time, surely you do not support these actions? There is a clear and resounding difference in the intent behind the actions between the countries at play here.

As far as the American attempt to arrest (you said abduct) the Iranian Republican Guard officers who were in Iraq for the purpose of aiding the enemy, you seem to be cherry picking, do you also condemn the actions taken by terrorists that have killed thousands of completely innocent people?

As far as prisoners held at Gitmo, they were for the most part apprehended on the battlefield, or were determined to be combatants. So we held them. They were treated like princesses compared to how our own servicemen and those of our allies were treated.

I would implore you to consider what the world would look like if nobody stood up to tyranny.

I would also like you to know I respect your ability to consider these matters, even if we disagree, in a time when many people just want to play video games or party.

I have many friends here in the States from various countries including the middle east, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) Romania, Russia, China, Thailand, The Philippines, and so forth. I know how much they cherish their new freedom, and I know how much they and their families have suffered in the past. I also listen to their point of view. I simply think doing nothing is not an alternative.

Paully
0 reviewer rep
80 forum posts
September 23, 2010 at 3:56 a.m. (EDT)

We can agree to disagree all day long, that's cool.

I agree that inaction in the face of tyranny is absolutely not an option. I strenuously disagree with the ulterior motive driven selection process that America implements when deciding where to concentrate its use of weapons of mass liberation.

I have many, many personal issues with this enormously broad ranging topic, so I'll leave it at that.

Will
22 reviewer rep
76 forum posts
September 24, 2010 at 12:22 p.m. (EDT)

From what I can gather, I feel they had no business being there in the first place.

I understand the risk involved with international travel, but being Americans and "hiking" anywhere near Iran, let alone Iraq in this political and wartime climate is just foolishness.

Although I hope the remaining hikers are freed, I lack sympathy for these people. Someone please tell me they were there for something more than just hiking!?

alan
0 reviewer rep
1,073 forum posts
September 24, 2010 at 12:42 p.m. (EDT)

I don't lack sympathy for Sarah or the other hikers, now captives, quite the opposite, and I certainly hope the rest are set free. I can't imagine how bad a foreign jail would be to spend any amount of time. We will likely never know whether they were truly at the wrong place at the wrong time or actually spies.

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