Iran hikers speak after return to US, call case ‘total sham’

Sarah Shourd holds hands with Shane Bauer as Josh Fattal speaks at a news conference yesterday in New York City.

Two Americans convicted in Iran of spying and jailed mainly in isolation for more than two years arrived in New York yesterday, saying they were innocent and had been held hostage simply because of their nationality.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer — who were arrested with their friend Sarah Shourd while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border in July 2009 — were freed Wednesday after Oman paid $1 million bail. Shourd was released on $500,000 bail a year ago.

Fattal and Bauer were sentenced to eight years in prison last month after a trial held behind closed doors. Washington denied that the group were spies.

Bauer and Fattal said the case against them had been a “total sham” and made up of “ridiculous lies that depicted us as being involved in an elaborate American-Israeli conspiracy to undermine Iran.”
“The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran,” Bauer said. “We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It’s that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us.”

“Sarah, Josh and I have experienced a taste of the Iranian regime’s brutality. We have been held in almost total isolation from the world and everything we love, stripped of our rights and freedom,” said Bauer.


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