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Iran: Campaign to Free Last Two Jailed American Hikers

Sarah Shourd spent 410 days in solitary confinement in Tehran, Iran, before she was allowed to return to the United States in September 2010. She now calls on the world to speak up for her two friends, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who are still in prison in Iran on charges of “espionage” since they were all three arrested while hiking in mountains near Iran's border in July 2009.

Family, friends and supporters of Shane and Josh are leading a protest that will kick off a ‘2 YEARS TOO LONG Weekend of Mobilization‘. A Facebook event aims to mobilize people to a real world protest, primarily in New York in front of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations on Friday, 29 July, 2011.

The Facebook group ‘Free the hikers‘ has more than 27,000 fans, and there are 4,000 followers on@freethehikers on Twitter.

According to Freehikers.org:

Iranian forces detained Shane Bauer, his fiancée Sarah Shourd and their close friend Josh Fattal on July 31, 2009 while they were enjoying a recreational hike in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. There are conflicting news reports about whether Iranian forces entered Iraq to arrest the three young Americans or they strayed across the poorly marked border by mistake. Sarah was released on September 14, 2010, on humanitarian grounds after spending 410 days in solitary confinement. All three were charged shortly before Sarah’s release with illegal entry and espionage at a hearing in Evin Prison in Tehran where they were finally allowed to meet their lawyer for only the first time but were unable to consult with him.

On the ‘2 Years Too Long Peaceful Protest‘ page on Faceboook it says:

On July 29th, two days before American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal stand trial on the second anniversary of their wrongful imprisonment in Iran, their families, friends and supporters will hold a peaceful protest in front of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations in New York City. Please join the families of these two innocent peace activists and Sarah Shourd, who spent 14 months in prison with them, to attest to Shane and Josh’s innocence and demand their freedom!

The Iranian judiciary has announced that a final decision in Shane and Josh’s case will be made at a court hearing on July 31st. The only final decision we will accept is their FREEDOM

Call for action

The Two Years Too Long blog proposes that people should make phone calls the week of 25 July (the week before their trial in Tehran) to the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington D.C with the following message:

I am a supporter of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. I know that the two are not spies and urge you to release them and allow them to travel home to their families tomorrow.

The blog suggests both digital and real action plan from “changing your Facebook and Twitter status to encourage your friends to participate in or organize an informal event at your home, workplace, community center making phones available for your community to call.”

In the following video Sarah Shourd shares her prison story in Iran with Amnesty International:

Several personalities and artists in the Muslim world such as legendary Ali and Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) called for their release. From hiking to jail for two years, it seems like even worse than bad luck. As Cat Stevens sings in one of his songs “Oh baby baby it's wild world.”

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