Friday, September 18, 2009

Families of Hikers Detained in Iran Speak Out

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The Oregonian

The families of three American hikers being held in Iran are speaking out in an effort to free them. The siblings of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal appeared on the "Today" show this morning, saying that information about the hikers' welfare has been limited. Fattal, who grew up in Pennsylvania, lived and worked in the Cottage Grove area for about three years for a group called Aprovecho, a research facility dedicated to organic agriculture, sustainable forest management and renewable energy technology.

The three were taken into custody 48 days ago while hiking near the Iranian border and little information has been released since. The Web site of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has an interview with Laura Fattal, Josh Fattal's mother. Laura Fattal and the others of Bauer and Shourd have written a letter to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, urging him to bring their children to the United States when he travels to New York next week to attend the United Nations General Assembly. In her interview with Radio Free Europe, Fattal says she's deeply concerned about the hikers' welfare.

Unfortunately, we don't have any news of their location. We are concerned about them every single day. We are hopeful that they're being fed; that they have showers; that they have a good bed; and their well-being is being taken care of. But we are worried every single day. We don't have word about them and we have not spoken to them and we have not received counselor access through the Swiss, the protecting power for the United States in Iran. The U.S. State Department has worked very closely with the Swiss government, and the Swiss government, being our protecting agency, is going frequently to the Iranian authorities to seek counselor access and to learn more about our children.