BERKELEY, Calif. — One-hundred days into their imprisonment
in Iran, the three Americans arrested on a hiking path that crossed the
Iran-Iraq border released public statements through their families Sunday.
Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, all
graduates of University of California, Berkeley, were detained July 31 during a
hike that crossed into Iran. Iranian officials have said the entry into their
country was illegal, while the Americans’ families have characterized the
trespass as an innocent mistake.
“For the people who gathered at the vigils, I want them
to know that we can feel it,” Bauer said in a statement released by his
“I know you are fighting for me and it makes me proud.
I am hanging in there with you,” Shourd said, according to her family.
The families’ own joint statement, released at vigils held
Sunday night across the Bay Area, said the hikers’ supporters “bring light
and love to the dark loneliness of their cells in Evin Prison.”
Fattal’s family said he wrote, “Thanks for all the
wonderful letters. I spend a lot of time reading (them).”
The United States has no official diplomatic ties with Iran,
so Swiss officials have been negotiating the detainees’ possible release with
the Iranian government.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview
with The Associated Press in September that he could ask the judiciary to
“take a look at the case with maximum leniency.”
The three detainees have all done work as freelance
journalists in the Middle East and colleagues and family members have said the
group was in Iraq interested in covering elections in Kurdistan.
Several journalist rights groups known as advocates for
professionals in similar situations have declined to give extensive public
comment on the issue, saying American media coverage can make negotiations more
To write a letter of support to be sent to the detained
Americans, visit www.freethehikers.org.
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.