By Shahrzad Safavi, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution yesterday calling for the "immediate" and "unconditional" release of three American hikers being detained in Iran. The resolution, backed by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Arlen Spector (D-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), emphasized that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been detained in Iran for over a year and urged their release on humanitarian grounds.
Josh Fattal, Sarah Shourd, and Shane Bauer
While the UC Berkeley graduates were originally reported to have been arrested after unintentionally crossing into Iran, a recent report by The Nation cites two eyewitnesses who said the three were arrested on the Iraqi side of the border. The report by the Nation further reported that the IRGC official responsible for ordering the detention of the trio has since been arrested by the Iranian government and charged with smuggling, kidnapping, and murder.
The resolution emphasized that "the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran."
Though Iran's criminal procedure code maintains that persons must be charged or released within four months of being detained, the hikers have yet to be formally charged of a crime. Sarah, Josh, and Shane, who are being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, have been allowed to see their families only once, in May, and have had otherwise limited contact with the outside world. According to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems.
The resolution text is below:
Urging the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Immediately and Unconditionally Release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer on Humanitarian Grounds
Whereas on July 31, 2009, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer were taken into custody by Iranian officials after they may have inadvertently crossed the poorly marked Iranian border while hiking in the Kurdistan region of Iraq;
Whereas Sarah, Josh, and Shane have been held since last year in Evin prison in Tehran;
Whereas the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran;
Whereas during the period of their detention, Sarah, Josh, and Shane have only been afforded the opportunity to see their families during a brief visit in May;
Whereas according to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems;
Whereas the families of Sarah, Josh and Shane have suffered greatly in the absence of their loved ones;
Whereas July 31, 2010 will mark the one-year anniversary of their detention;
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That Congress-
(1) recognizes that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been held in custody in Iran for one year; and
(2) urges the Government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer, on humanitarian grounds and allow them to reunite with their families in the United States
Obama Urges Iran To 'Immediately' Release U.S. Hikers - U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Iran to "immediately release" three American hikers who have been held in the Islamic Republic for a full year. In a written statement, Obama said the three have never worked for the U.S. government, have committed "absolutely no crime," and have never had a quarrel with the Iranian government. -RFE
Iran Says U.S. Hikers Should Face Trial - Iran says that three American hikers detained in Tehran for a year should stand trial on charges of illegally crossing the country's borders. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that it was "evident" the three -- Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal -- had entered the country illegally.
Interview: Mothers Say U.S. Hikers' Yearlong Detention 'Outrageous' - On July 31, 2009, three Americans were arrested by Iranian forces after they purportedly strayed across the Iranian border while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. Shane Bauer, 27; Sarah Shourd, 31; and Josh Fattal, 27, have been held in Iran ever since, without charges, and are currently in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. -RFE
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