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At wits’ end, Fattals confounded by Iran

After nearly two years, Elkins Park family tries to hold onto hope for return of Josh.

After 22 months of trying to keep up hope about his brother’s eventual release from an Iranian prison, Alex Fattal said yet another delay in the trial and tribulations of his brother has utterly “devastated and frustrated” the family.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, detained in Iran in July 2009 while hiking along the Iran-Iraq border, had been scheduled since last month to have the second part of their trial yesterday. No reason was given for the delay.

“Everyone’s devastated and worried sick,” Alex Fattal said in an interview yesterday after hearing the news of the delay. “We don’t know if they’ve gone on hunger strike, possible physical abuse that might be going on, so they wouldn’t bring them to the court and have them be seen. We just have no idea.”

Even the attorney for the two American hikers “has no idea about their condition because he
hasn’t seen them” either, Alex Fattal said.

Sarah Shourd, a third American who was also arrested in 2009 with Fattal and Bauer, was released in September 2010 and is back in America. She is being tried in absentia.

The three have been charged with espionage, which Alex Fattal said has been proven obviously untrue over the last year and a half.

Innocence lost

A massive following and world-renowned figures have taken up the American hikers’ cause in the many months since they have been imprisoned. Thousands have visited the website

“Bishop Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Ali have come out in their support,” said Alex Fattal. “The list goes on and on. The world acknowledges their innocence.”

Alex Fattal said the “ups and downs” have left his mother so anxious “she complains of pain from her stomach knotting.”

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