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Sarah Shane and Josh

Sarah, Shane and Josh:
The Story

Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were detained near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, on the 31st July 2009, while on holiday. 

They were held in Evin Prison on suspicion of spying. They were held without charge for over a year.

Sarah Shourd was released on bail in September, 2010, without ever having been officially charged with any offence. She had been held in solitary confinement the whole time and denied medical treatment.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released a year later, in September 2011.

 

 

 

TIMELINE

On the 27th July, 2009, Sarah, Shane and Josh set off for a short holiday in Iraqi Kurdistan, together with a fourth friend, Shon Meckfessel. They spent a few days in Erbil and then travelled on to Sulaimaniyah, where they were told of a local tourist spot called Ahmed Awa, famous for its waterfalls.

"We travelled up through Syria on a bus. We didn't want to go up through Iraq, Shane felt it was too dangerous, so we went up through the corner of Turkey.
We arrived in Erbil after our first day of travel, in Kurdistan, and walked around town.
We arrived in Sulaymaniyah the night of July 29th and stayed at the Hotel Miwan.

The next day, Shane, Sarah and Josh left for Ahmed Awa. I stayed behind at the hotel as I was feeling unwell...."  Shon Meckfessel.

July 31st 2009

Urgent phone call

The 'fourth hiker', Shon Meckfessel, was on his way to meet Sarah, Shane and Josh at Ahmed Awa waterfalls, when he got a short, urgent phone call from Shane to say they had been surrounded by Iranian guards and were being taken somewhere in a vehicle. Shane and asked Shon to call the Embassy. Shane was clearly under the impression that they had been taken in Iraq.

August 2nd 2009

Iran state TV claimed that the three Americans crossed into Iran.

Iran's state owned Arabic-language al-Alam TV station cited a "well-informed source" in the Interior Ministry that the three Americans were detained Friday after crossing into Iran's Kurdistan province.

Kurdish officials say the Americans were tourists who were hiking.

Kurdish officials from the self-ruled region in northern Iraq said the three — two men and a woman — were tourists who had mistakenly crossed into Iranian territory while hiking in a mountainous area near the resort town of Ahmed Awaa. They said U.S. helicopters and Humvees deployed to the nearby city of Halabja to search for the Americans after they were reported missing on Friday, but left after it was determined they had been seized by the Iranians.

Confirmation sought

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said that Washington had asked the Swiss, who represent U.S. interests in Tehran, "to confirm these reports with Iranian authorities and, if true, to seek consular access" to the detained Americans.

August 3rd 2009

Hillary Clinton called on Iran to provide information about three missing Americans.

"As of a few hours ago, we did not yet have official confirmation that the Iranian government or an instrument of the Iranian government were holding the three missing Americans...

Obviously, we are concerned... We want this matter brought to a resolution as soon as possible, and we call on the Iranian government to help us determine the whereabouts of the three missing Americans and return them as quickly as possible."

Iraqi regional security chief in Sulaimaniyah, Hakim Qadir Humat Jan, said hikers got lost

"the area is poorly marked and the three simply lost their bearings when they crossed into western Iran and were arrested on Friday....

Our investigations proved there was no political or military reason for the border crossing. They simply made a mistake...

"They came as tourists. Nothing about the way they were traveling points to a possibility of spying. Their financial situation was also weak — they traveled in a crowded bus and stayed at a cheap hotel — and they entered Kurdistan legally... I call on the Iranians to set them free."

He added that the mountainous area where the Americans were arrested contains dense foliage and narrow trails, and it's difficult to make out where Iraqi Kurdistan ends and Iran begins.

August 5th 2009

Iran appoints new Intelligence Minister.

Iran appoints new Minister of Intelligence, Hojjatol-Islam Heydar Moslehi, close ally of President Ahmadinejad.

August 11th 2009

United States received official confirmation that three Americans have been detained in Iran.

State Department spokesman, Philip Crowley, confirmed that Iran was holding the hikers:

"The Swiss ambassador did today receive formal notification by the Iranian government that it has three Americans in detention... Iran has obligations under the Vienna Convention, and we demand consular access at the first opportunity."

August 15th 2009

Statement from Hillary Clinton:

"Regarding the three American hikers, Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd, who were detained by Iranian authorities on July 31, we once again call on the Iranian government to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention by granting consular access and releasing these three young Americans without further delay."

Iran appoints new Head of Judiciary.

The new head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Ardeshir Larijani, suggested that he would prosecute security agents accused of torture in the post election crackdown.

Iranian state TV reported Sadeq Larijani as saying, during his swearing in:

"nobody should dare . . . to violate rights or security of citizens".

Sadegh Larijani's two older brothers are Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran's High Council for Human Rights and Ali Larijani, speaker of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) and former nuclear negotiator. A third brother, Dr. Mohammad Bagher Larijani, is the head of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and a one time deputy health minister.

September and October 2009

Swiss representatives twice visited Sarah, Shane and Josh in prison.

The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for over 30 years, since the previous hostage crisis. The Swiss Consulate represents US interests in Iran.

December 2009

Families of the hikers hires top Iranian lawyer, Massoud Shafie.

January 2010

Javad Larijani says it should be assumed they are innocent.

Mohammad Javad Larijani - the head of Iran's High Council for Human Rights - said it was "quite possible" that the Americans had strayed into Iran by mistake, but that "the security people want to be sure this is true" because the area they were in was known for "terrorist activities."

"We should assume that they are innocent," he added.

February 2nd 2010

Ahmadinejad proposes prisoner swap.

President Ahmadinejad said in interview with Iranian state TV that there were ongoing negotiations about exchanging the hikers for several Iranians jailed for years in the United States.

"There are some talks under way to have an exchange, if it is possible... Recently they (the U.S.) have sent messages, we answered to bring them (the Iranians), to bring these people (the hikers). We are hopeful that all prisoners will be released."

Ahmadinejad did not mention any specifics but in December Iran released a list of 11 Iranians it says are being held in the U.S. — including a nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia and a former Defense Ministry official who vanished in Turkey.

March 2010

Hikers phone home – a short 3 minute phone call each.

April 8th 2010

Iran says evidence of cooperation with intelligence services will soon be revealed to the media.

Iranian state television reported Iran's Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, as saying:

"Tehran has compelling evidence that three Americans arrested in Iran last year were cooperating with intelligence services....  Iran will present its evidence to the media soon."

April 20th 2010

The Swiss consulate reports poor health and threats of hunger strike

Sarah is still in solitary confinement and suffering a serious gynecological condition as well as depression. She sees Shane & Josh for on hour a day. Shane and Josh share a cell. Shane has a stomach ailment.

Consulate reports that they are considering a hunger strike.

April 22nd 2010

Lawyer says the only charge is 'illegal border crossing'.

The New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that the hikers' lawyer said recently that he has seen their file and there is no evidence of espionage.

The lawyer said that both the file and the judge handling the case say that the only charge is “illegal border crossing.” Under Iranian law, that calls for a cash penalty — not jail time.

April 23rd 2010

Hilary Clinton issues fresh demand for the hikers' release:

"I was pleased to learn of the consular visit yesterday by the Swiss Ambassador in Iran to the three detained American hikers, Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd. But we are disturbed by the families’ reports of their children’s physical and emotional health. These three Americans -- innocent tourists in Iraq’s Kurdistan region when they were detained on July 31, 2009 -- have been unjustly held for almost nine months without formal charges or access to legal representation. We ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to release these three Americans and allow them to go home and be reunited with their families."

May 12th 2010

The mothers of Sarah, Shane and Josh receive visa to visit Iran.

The mothers had applied for visas back in January and now finally received them.

May 20th to 21st 2010

The mothers visit Sarah, Shane and Josh in a hotel near the prison, amidst world-wide media coverage.

Sarah and Shane announce their engagement

June 23rd 2010

The Nation publishes a report which indicates that Sarah, Shane and Josh were kidnapped in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"...a five-month investigation by The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute has located two witnesses to the arrest who claim that Bauer, Fattal and Shourd were on Iraqi territory when they were arrested—not in Iran, as Iranian officials have asserted. Two additional sources report that the Revolutionary Guards officer who likely ordered their detention has since been arrested on charges of smuggling, kidnapping and murder."

July 12th - 25th 2010

Sarah's mother, Nora Shourd, visits the UK & France for a media tour, coordinated by Safe World.

July 13th 2010

Missing Iranian nuclear scientist turns up in Washington

Iranian nuclear scientist, Shahram Amiri, showed up at the Iranian section of the Pakistan embassy in Washington on 13 June and demanded to be returned to Iran.

The Pakistani foreign ministry confirmed to the BBC that he had taken refuge at their embassy - the first time non-Iranian officials had confirmed any details about Mr Amiri.

Iran had accused the US of abducting Amari.

Later, the US also acknowledged his presence - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying he was in the country "of his own free will" and was free to leave.

There were rumours of an impending 'prisoner swap.'

"I'm very happy that he's been returned, that he can reconnect with his family," Shane's mother, Cindy Hickey, told The Associated Press. "I can't help but be hopeful this might loosen things up a bit."

Hickey was quick to caution that family members of Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have no reason to think Amiri's return to Iran could affect the fate of the Americans.

July 20th - 23rd 2010

Shane's mother, Cindy Hickey, visits the UK

July 21st 2010

Cindy Hickey on the Panel at the Front Line Club, London

Cindy Hickey was on the Panel at the Front Line Club, London, with freed journalist Maziar Bahari, Sina Motabelli (head of BBC Perisa) and Drewery Dyke (Amnesty International's Iran researcher).

July 22nd 2010

Sarah's mother, Nora, and Cindy visit the Iranian Embassy to deliver a letter.

After trying unsuccessfully to arrange to visit the Iranian Embassy in London, Nora and Cindy visit the Embassy to deliver a letter and hold a small demonstration outside, with a strong media presence.

July 30th 2010

US President Barack Obama calls for immediate release of Hikers.

Amnesty International warns that hikers' continuing detention could amount to hostage-taking

Amnesty International warned that the continuing detention of the US citizens could amount to hostage-taking and a very serious abuse of human rights:

"One year from their arrest it appears clear that the Iranian authorities do not have substantial grounds to prosecute these three individuals, and we fear that they may be held on account of their nationality," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program. "If so, they should be released immediately and allowed to leave Iran."

...Statements by senior Iranian leaders - including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in February 2010 - have suggested that the three may be in detention in order to put pressure on the US government and to extract diplomatic concessions.

"If this were the case, then the continuing detention of these three individuals would amount to hostage-taking and be a very serious abuse of human rights," said Smart.

The Iranian authorities' failure to charge them with illegal entry into Iran or more serious charges, such as espionage, one year after their arrest, has fuelled speculation that the Iranian authorities are holding them as a bargaining chip.

"The detainees must be given immediate access to their lawyer, to renewed consular access and contact with their families, and to any medical attention or treatment that they need," said Smart.

July 31st 2010

1 year anniversary of detainment.

August 5th 2010

Sarah's mother receives short phone call from Sarah - the second phone call.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture appeals to Tehran to end Sarah's Solitary confinement

Nora Shourd officially announces that she has asked UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to intervene.

August 10th 2010

Sarah Shourd turns 32 years old in Evin Prison.

August 13th 2010

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture appeals to Tehran to end Sarah’s solitary confinement.

August 28th 2010

Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi says "investigations will be completed soon".

September 10th 2010

Iran announces one of the hikers to be released and invites media

Iran announces one of the hikers to be released and international media invited to a ceremony at a former imperial palace in Tehran.

In a text message, the Iranian Culture Ministry invited journalists to a hotel in Tehran:

"With the best wishes for Eid al-Fitr, the release of one of the arrested Americans, on Saturday, 9 a.m."

Eid is the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Later the same day, Iran delays the release.

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said her release had been cancelled. He told semi-official news agency Ilna:

"The published reports have not been confirmed by the judiciary... Clearly any decision regarding the mentioned accused will be made after the completion of the legal procedure."

A presidential official later confirmed the delay to the official Irna news agency.

Neither man gave a date for her eventual release, and neither mentioned the other two detainees.

The BBC's Middle East correspondent Jon Leyne said it sounded ominously as if her case has fallen victim to the increasingly bitter power struggle between elites in Iran.

September 12th 2010

Iran demands bail for Sarah Shourd.

The sudden request for bail was viewd by some as a 'ransom demand.'

SARAH SHOURD RELEASED 

September 14th 2010

Sarah released - media not invited.

Sarah was only able to say a very brief goodbye to Shane and Josh.

Before leaving Iran, Sarah was required to meet with the twin daughters of Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan - an Iranian imprisoned in the USA.

Sarah was then flown to Oman.

It is not known who paid the bail.

September 19th 2010

Sarah arrives in Washington DC.

Planes to New York fully-booked with UN delegations.

September 21st 2010

President Ahmadinejad visits the United Nations at New York.

September 23rd 2010

Ahmadinejad addresses the United Nations.

September 24th 2010

Sarah Shourd meets Ahmadinejad.

October 1st 2010

Trial set to begin 6th November 2010.

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal are due to appear before Judge Abolqasem Salavati on Nov. 6, the attorney said. The judge has handled many high-profile trials, especially since the political unrest that followed the 2009 presidential election, and has been dubbed the "hanging judge" by opposition and human rights activists, for handing out harsh sentences.

October 22nd 2010

Wikileaks document states that hikers were kidnapped in Iraq.

MND-N G2 reported a kidnapping of 3 Americans who were being taken to the Iranian border. The Americans were hiking near the Iranian border when taken....

UPDATE 311718 JUL09: Colonel Latif of the 10th Pesh Murga brigade reports Iranians detained 3x AMCIT for being too close to the border...

UPDATE 010015AUG09: Escorts will fly fixed wing at 1100 hrs on 1 AUG09 to FOB Warrior...

Kurdish leaders remain concerned about international perceptions regarding security as they seek to increase investment in the KRG. Expect KRG leadership to intervene to return the 3 individuals and the Iranian government to accuse them of being spies.

October 27th 2010

State Department Spokesman marks Ahmadinejad's birthday with a tweet calling for release of the hikers.

Peter J Crowley, who regularly tweets as @PJCrowley to about 6,250 followers, marked the Iranian leader’s birthday with a plea for the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

“Happy birthday President #Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be. #Iran”

November 1st 2010

Promise of phone calls.

The Mission on Iran to the United Nations says that the mothers of the two American hikers held in Iran will now be able to speak to their sons via telephone, for reasons of "humanitarian consideration."

November 2nd 2010

US mid-term elections.

November 6th 2010

Trial cancelled because Shane and Josh 'did not show up'.

Judiciary and lawyer present in court but Shane and Josh were not delivered from the prison, so trial cancelled.

The reason for the delay was the absence of Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer at the trial, lawyer Maoud Shafii said he was told. The court told him the two were summoned to court but did not show up, he said.

Shafii said that makes no sense, because the two are in government custody, and it's the government's responsibility to bring them to court.

November 21st 2010

Larijani visits the United Nations in the USA.

Mohammad Larijani, head of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, visited the United Nations in the USA to defend his nation's human rights record.

Larijani speaks publicly about Sarah Shourd:

"We have been able to convince the legal structure that the lady (Sarah Shourd) was definitely out of this process. She was not even capable of doing such a thing. So we prepared the ground of her release on bail."

November 22nd 2010

Trial rescheduled for Feb 6th.

November 28th 2010

Shane and Josh phone home - their second phone call. They have been allowed no further phone calls.

November 30th 2010

US Announces More Sanctions Against Iran.

January 2011

Families receive Christmas cards.

The families receive a Christmas card, with one short paragraph, the only written communication they have received from Shane and Josh in the whole time.

THE TRIAL BEGINS

February 6th 2011

Hikers’ trial begins.

Diplomats of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents American interests in lieu of formal diplomatic ties between the United States and Iran, stood outside in the cold at the Revolutionary Court building for a glimpse of the hikers or their lawyer. The defendants and their attorney apparently were escorted through a back entrance.

An embassy official, Christian Winter, said the mission had applied for permission to attend the hearing three weeks ago but was barred from entering the courthouse. Winter said the two prisoners are living in harsh conditions.

"In the past 18 months, two times each for a few minutes, the hikers have had access to a phone... Relatives send them letters regularly, but we are not sure whether they receive them in time or at all.... Since Shourd was released, the two men have not been allowed recreation time outside their cells... Daily life in jail is not good or as good as before."

The trial was covered by Iranian state television but other media were barred from the court room.

March 13th 2011

Court date announced for next stage of trial: May 11th.

April 26th 2011

Sarah Shourd summoned to court on May 11th

Lawyer Masoud Shafii told official news agency IRNA a subpoena had been sent to Shourd through Iran's Foreign Ministry but he did not expect her to appear:

"In the court notice which I received as their lawyer, the presence of Sarah Shourd has been considered mandatory... In the phone conversation that I had with Ms Shourd, she told me she had gathered more evidence and proof for being innocent and will present it as defense to the court...

The possibility of her attending the second court session which is due on May 11 at 10 a.m. local time (0530 GMT)... is not much."

May 2nd 2011

Lawyer says Sarah Shourd's summons cannot be used as excuse to delay trial.

Masoud Shafii told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the summons for Sarah Shourd may be a new excuse for yet another re-scheduling of court proceedings in order to further prolong the process. He emphasized that the court determined that Sarah Shourd’s presence is mandatory and that if she does not appear, the court session will be postponed:

“According to Article 209 of the Criminal Penal Code, where there are multiple suspects in a case, the case judge is required to review each case separately, as, for example, one of the suspects may have fled. The judge cannot leave the case open for others with the excuse of the [absent] suspect... the judge is obligated to separate Sarah’s case from the cases of the other two suspects. If anything other than this is decided, unfortunately, the legal course has not been taken...

Additionally, there is no evidence that would support their being spies...

They can’t even be accused of illegal entry. Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was questioned [in the Parliament] about the lack of [sufficient] markings on the Iranian borders. Now the question is, how could three young foreigners easily determine whether this spot is a continuation of Iraqi soil or [the beginning of] Iranian soil...  From a legal point of view, there is no justification for continuing this case.”

May 5th 2011

Sarah Shourd is suffering from PTSD & won't be returning for trial

Sarah Shourd announces that she won't be returning to Tehran to face espionages at the May 11th trial session.
Sarah is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a result of spending 15 months in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, Iran.

The family's lawyer has still not met with Shane and Josh since the trial in February.

May 10th 2011

Amnesty International calls again for Shane and Josh to be freed.

'Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities to release two US citizens apparently held for political reasons for nearly two years, as their flawed trial is set to resume on 11 May...'

 

“The facts surrounding the hikers’ arrest are disputed, and Iran’s justice system has systematically failed to observe international fair trial standards in this case, including giving the men adequate contact with their lawyer, families or consular assistance,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“Last year we called on Iran to release the men and to let them leave country if they were not to be charged with recognizably criminal offences and given a fair trial. This has patently not happened and indicates that Iran has a political motive for holding them and has no intention of granting them a fair trial.”

Eyewitness testimony reported by US news magazine The Nation placed the three hikers inside Iraq, not Iran, at the time of their arrest by Iranian troops. The Iranian authorities maintain that they were arrested in Iranian territory.

Amnesty International takes the position that illegal entry into a country should not be subject to a penalty of imprisonment.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been held at Tehran’s Evin Prison since their arrest, and have only been granted one brief encounter with family, when their mothers visited Iran in May 2010. They have been denied adequate access to their lawyer and only had few meetings with Swiss embassy officials, who represent US interests in Iran.

Shane Bauer’s family has said he has health problems that require regular monitoring....

In media interviews, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has hinted that the hikers were being held as a bargaining chip to be used in Iran’s dealings with the United States.

“Holding foreign nationals with the sole purpose of seeking concessions amounts to hostage taking, and if that is the case here, Iran must immediately and unconditionally set these men free and allow them to leave the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

11th May 2011

Trial postponed - Judiciary fails to deliver Shane & Josh to court.

A Swiss diplomat representing the United States' interests in Iran says the trial of two American hikers charged with espionage has been postponed, apparently because the two accused never showed up at the court house.

"They're just not ready to take a decision," the diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, told CBS News of the Iranian regime.

“The court was set and we waited for two hours,” the lawyer said. He said Iran’s judiciary is “at fault” because it is responsible for ensuring the presence in court of those detained. He said he is awaiting instructions from the court on the next step in the case. All three have pleaded innocent.

19th May 2011

Mothers go on hunger strike.

21st May 2011

Sarah Shourd joins mothers on hunger strike.

22nd May 2011

Shane and Josh phone home and report they have been on 17-day hunger strike.

This was the third phone call the families have had from from Shane and Josh since July 2009.

Shane and Josh reported that they recently went on a 17-day hunger strike because mail from their families was not being given to them.

The families vow to continue rolling hunger strike until they are released.

4th June to 9th June 2011

Sarah Shourd visited UK to raise awareness about Shane and Josh

Sarah was covered by the UK Times supplement, BBC Breakfast Television, BBC HardTalk Persian, BBC World HardTalk, BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour, BBC World News, Channel 4 News with Jon Snow, CBS News, O Folha (leading Brazilian magazine) and The Majalla (Saudi Arabian news outlet).

The media visit was coordinated by Safe World.

9th June 2011

In Sarah's interview with BBC HardTalk she revealed abuse by prison guards and fears of execution.

A guard in Evin Prison pushed Josh Fattal down stairs because he was furious that he took extra food and then repeatedly threw his friend Shane Bauer against the wall of his cell until his head began to bleed, according to Sarah Shourd.

She also said the three friends feared they would be executed a few days after their arrest more than 22 months ago when a soldier who was guarding them began cocking his weapon.

Sarah she had no way of knowing what may have happened to Shane and Josh since her release. “My worst fear is that they’re not safe – especially when we haven’t seen them for so long.”

14th June 2011

Amnesty International interview with Sarah Shourd.

Amnesty International releases video interview with Sarah Shourd, which took place during her visit to London the previous week.

Tehran's chief prosecutor announces 'tentative' dates for next court hearing.

Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency as saying that the next court appearence is tentatively set for the summer session of the court, between June 22nd and August 22nd.

He said officials "are hopeful that the final decision about the three Americans' case will be taken in that session". He did not elaborate.

16th June 2011

The family's lawyer, Massoud Shafii, says Shane and Josh are hostages.

“There is no legal reason my clients should be detained in prison... There is no espionage or illegal entry evidence against my clients. This case is political, and unfortunately my clients have been held hostage, and they have become playthings for the government", Mr Shafii wrote in an email to the New York Times.

20th June 2011

Date of next trial session set for July 31st.

"I have received official notification to be ready in court on July 31 at 10 am (0530 GMT) to defend my clients," Massoud Shafii told AFP, adding that the new hearing date coincides with the second anniversary of their arrest...

This time the notification that I have received did not demand her (Sarah Shourd's) presence, it just said to be ready to defend all three,"

31st July 2011

Second session of trial which began in February - Verdict expected by end of week

On the second anniversary of the detention of Shane and Josh, they appeared in court for the second time.

"The Sunday session was the last court session and their verdicts will be announced in the coming days," al-Alam quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei as saying without giving further details.

Their lawyer Masoud Shafiee told Reuters that the verdicts will be announced "by next week the latest."

4th August 2011

Senior Iranian official expects release of Shane and Josh 'very soon'.

A senior Iranian diplomat says he expects two Americans held in Iran on espionage charges will be released "very soon."

Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Dannaie Fir, says he doesn't know exactly when Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would be let go.  But he told The Associated Press in an interview that there is a general feeling in Tehran the two would be freed during Ramadan. The Islamic holy month began this week.

6th August 2011

Iran's Foreign Minister 'hopes' hikers will be freed

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi hopes that the trial of two US citizens detained in the Islamic republic on espionage charges will lead to their freedom, reports said on Saturday.

"We hope that the trial of these two (US) nationals will proceed in a manner that will result in their freedom," Salehi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

7th August 2011

Iranian envoy denies telling reporter he hopes for the release of Shane & Josh

Fars News Agency - a semi-official news agency in Iran - reported that Iran's ambassador to Baghdad that he made no words about an upcoming release of the two American suspects and that the AP reporter misinterpreted his remarks that pardons are handed down during Ramadan.

20th August 2011

Unconfirmed reports that Shane and Josh have each received sentences of 8 years

Iranian state TV's website said Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal each received three years for illegally entering Iran and five years for spying.

21st August 2011

Tehran Prosecutor-General, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, confirmed reports of the sentence.

He told a news conference that no verdict had yet been passed on Sarah Shourd.

Hikers' lawyer says he will appeal the sentence.

"We have 20 days to appeal and I will try my best to use all legal means to annul the sentence," lawyer Masoud Shafiee told Reuters.

"It was my belief, and still is, that they are innocent and I have not seen any evidence that shows they are guilty."

Hillary Clinton issues statement

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, reniewed calls for the immediate release of Shane and Josh.

Amnesty International issues statement.

“The conduct of this trial has quite simply made a mockery of justice. There does not appear to be any substance to the allegations that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are spies,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director.

“The way this case has been handled from the outset strongly suggests that they are being held as a bargaining chip to allow Iran to obtain unspecified concessions from the US government,” he added.

13th Sepember 2011

Ahmadinejad says Shane and Josh will be released.

President Ahmadinejad told NBC and the Washington Post that Shane and Josh will be released 'in a couple of days'.

'These two people will be released - it's going to be over," he said in the interview with NBC. Adding, "They are having very good conditions - it's like staying in a hotel."

14th September 2011

On the anniversary of Sarah's release, Iran's state TV said the judiciary rebukes announcements of Shane and Josh's imminent release.

Judiciary officials quickly rebuked their elected leader via Iran's state-run Press TV.

"The two Americans are going to stay in prison for a bit longer," an official said, accoring to CBS News. "Reports of their imminent release are wrong."

The judiciary is still reviewing the case, and only the ministry can make the final decision regarding bail, according to Press TV. Any other reports on the matter should not be considered "reliable."

"Request from lawyers of these two defendants to issue bail and free [them] is under study," the statement said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

16th September 2011

Plane waiting to collect Shane and Josh.

The Gulf State of Oman has sent a plane to Iran to pick up the Americans, a foreign ministry official said.

17th September 2011

Application for release on bail signed by one judge - another signature needed.

Bail application signed by one judge, but a second judge failed to appear as expected, a lawyer told NBC News.

The lawyer said that he needed a second judge to sign the bail papers, NBC News reported.

18th September 2011

Second judge is on holiday and can't sign papers till the 20th September.

The prisoners' lawyer, Masoud Shafiei, said he could not complete the paperwork on the bail deal because a second judge who must sign the documents is on holiday until Tuesday.

"I have no choice but to wait until Tuesday (20th September)" Shafiei told the Associated Press.

19th September 2011

Iranian President Ahmadinejad flies to New York for UN General Assembly.

A group of U.S. Christian and Muslim envoys also flew to the States, after holding talks with President Ahmadinejad over the possible release of Shane and Josh.

A statement by the interfaith delegation from the U.S. said they urged Ahmadinejad and other officials to release the two men on humanitarian grounds during their weeklong visit, which they said came at Ahmadinejad's invitation.

20th September 2011

Second judge still not signed papers but Ahmadinejad reaffirms plan to free Shane and Josh.

Despite the delay caused by the second judge not appearing in court to sign the papers, President Ahmadinejad insisted that their release was still imminent.

"I did say within the next few days and I still say the same thing. And God willing they will be released very soon," Ahmadinejad told ABC television.

"We act upon whatever we say. And if we don't want to act, we won't say it. We didn't make this decision under pressure," the Iranian leader said, according to ABC.

SHANE BAUER AND JOSH FATTAL RELEASED!

21st September 2011

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been released after spending nearly 26 months in Evin Prison, Iran.

The first few months were spent in solitary confinement and, ever since, they have been sharing a small cell together.

SARAH SHOURD AND SHANE BAUER GET MARRIED

Saturday, 5th May 2012, Sarah and Shane married. Josh was their best man.

~

SOURCES:

Kurdistan News
NBC Washington
CNN World - Clinton presses Iran for info on detained U.S. hikers
Iran Focus
U.S. Department of State - state briefing
U.S. Department of State - Missing and Detained Americans in Iran
2Space
msnbc.com - Iran floats prisoner swap for U.S. hikers
Press TV - Americans 'worked for secret services'
IRANIAN.COM
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran - 64 Days and Counting
U.S. Department of State - Statement on American Hikers Detained in Iran
The Nation
msnbc.com - U.S. hikers' moms hopeful as scientist goes to Iran
Frontline Club
Channel 4 News
CNN Politics
Amnesty International
CNN World - Mother wants daughter out of solitary confinement
France24
Reuters - Iran says probe on detained U.S. hikers to end soon
The Washington Post
BBC News
UK Guardian
The Australian
abc NEWS
msnbc.com - American freed by Iran arrives in Oman
CNN U.S. - American detained more than a year in Iran arrives in United States
Press TV - Ahmadinejad arrives in New York
Reuters - Ahmadinejad says in U.N. address that capitalism is dying
ABC - Good Morning America - Freed Hiker Sarah Shourd Pleads Case to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran News Now
New York Times - The War Logs
CBS News
CNN World - Parents can call detained American hikers in Iran
CNN World - Trial for U.S. hikers detained in Iran set for February
You Tube - Iranian official says U S hikers might not be spies, msnbc news
Reuters - Treasury Department sanctions 10 new Iran-controlled firms
Los Angeles Times
Yahoo News - Iran sets date for trial of American hikers
Yahoo News - Iran wants Shourd to return from U.S. for trial
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran - American Hiker Sarah Shourd’s Summons May Be Excuse to Prolong Trial
Democracy Now!
Yahoo News - US hikers' lawyer hopes for Iran verdict in week
Amnesty International
CBS News - Iran trial of 2 American hikers postponed
Bloomberg - Iran Fails to Bring Spy Case Americans to Court, Lawyer Says
New York Times - Lawyer Says U.S. Pair Are Iran’s Hostages
Associated Press - Iran: Ruling on detained Americans by late August
Associated Press - Iran sets new hearing date for US hikers: lawyer
Reuters - Iran to announce U.S. hikers verdict in "coming days": report
AFP - Iran foreign minister 'hopes' US hikers will be freed
Fars News Agency - Iranian Envoy: Rapid Release of US Nationals Unlikely
BBC - Iran 'jails US hikers for eight years for spying'
Reuters Africa - U.S. "hikers'" lawyer to fight Iran spy sentence
Amnesty International - Iran: Release US hikers following “grossly unfair” trial
TODAY People - Iran president: US hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal to be freed ‘in a couple of days’
NY Daily News - Iran's Justice Ministry: hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal will NOT be released in 'couple of days'
MSNBC - Hitch over bail for US hikers held in Iran
CBS News - Ahmadinejad heads to NYC without U.S. hikers
UK Guardian - US hikers' freedom postponed until Iranian judge returns from holiday
AFP - Iran president reaffirms plan to free US hikers