Finally: American hikers may be released within days (photos, video)
TEHRAN, Iran — Here in San Francisco the top news is on the possible release of the two remaining American hikers in Iran.
KTVU Channel 2 News in San Francisco says that the families of two American hikers were “overjoyed” at hearing the news.
“That’s fantastic news that the hikers could be released within days,” says San Francisco resident, LeeAnne Wallace.
All three of the hikers graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, just across the bay from San Francisco.
The plan is that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer will be released from Tehran’s Evin prison once a bail of $500,000 has been paid, said their attorney, Masoud Shafiee, on Tuesday.
According to KTVU Channel 2 News, Bauer and Fattal could be released “in a couple of days,” said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to NBC.
“While we do not have further details at this time, we are overjoyed by the positive news reports from Iran,” said the families of Fattal and Bauer. The statement was given through a spokeswoman.
The American hikers had recently been given 8 years (See that breaking news story here of the 2 hikers getting 8 years in jail in Iran. Breaking: Iran sentences 2 American hikers to 8 years in jail (photos, video))
“Shane and Josh’s freedom means more to us than anything, and it’s a huge relief to read that they are going to be released. We’re grateful to everyone who has supported us and we are looking forward to our reunion with Shane and Josh. We hope to say more when they are finally back in our arms.”
Shafiee told press that the hikers’ families were currently attempting to raise the bail money for the two captured men.
See slideshow here of pictures of the three American hikers
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were taken on July 31, 2009, while there were hiking in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Fattal, Bauer and a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, were then arrested after apparently crossing over an unmarked border between Iraq and Iran. When Iranian authorities arrested them, the three were accused of being spies.
Sarah Shourd, now Bauer’s fiancee, was let go last year for medical reasons and she returned to the U.S. (See that article here: Sarah Shourd, freed American hiker, gets medical exam (photos, video))
Sarah Shourd’s mother made a statement when she was released. (See that article here: Sarah Shourd mother makes statement, American hiker released)
Authorities, however, have said that Shourd’s case is still open.
Sarah Shourd, recently appeared at an ASMP fundraiser in San Francisco, much to the delight of those who attended. (See that article here)
There was much speculation as to whether the American hikers were being used as a bargaining chip. (See that article here: American hikers get 8 years, are they a bargaining chip? (photos, video))
Prison conditions for Fattal and Bauer, at least, are said not to be difficult. According to KTVU, Ahmadinejad told NBC that Fattal and Bauer were experiencing “very good conditions here in prison … it’s like staying in a hotel.”
“They illegally crossed our borders, and they were arrested by the border guards,” he continued, according to KTVU Channel 2 News. “We tried last year to free one of the three persons, and we are also trying to make arrangements for the freedom of the other two. I think these two persons will be freed in a couple of days.”
In Washington D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reacted to the news by saying that the U.S. government was “encouraged” by the Iranian statements.
“But I’m not going to comment further than that,” cautioned Clinton.
See video and photos on the left-hand side for more on this story. Sarah Shourd says she is haunted by the images of her colleagues still in prison.
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Source: KTVU Channel 2 News
Related articles by this Examiner on the American hikers in Iraq:
Sarah Shourd, American hiker released, who posted bail? (video)
Sarah Shourd mother makes statement, American hiker released
Iran releases American hiker Sarah Shourd, leaves Iran
Breaking: Iran sentences 2 American hikers to 8 years in jail (photos, video)