Tags: Iran | hikers | US | arrest

Iran Reportedly Illegally Detained US Hikers

Friday, 25 Jun 2010 04:49 AM

NEW YORK — The three US hikers being held in Iran after allegedly straying into their country in 2009 were actually detained by Iranian police on the Iraqi side of the border, The Nation magazine reported.

The report follows a five-month investigation carried out by the weekly publication that cites two locals who witnessed the detention of Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27 on July 31, 2009.

According to The Nation, the trio "were on Iraqi territory when they were arrested -- not in Iran, as Iranian officials have asserted."

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said "those are disconcerting allegations," even though he added the US government has "no evidence to back up these allegations."

He repeated US calls for the release of the hikers.

The eyewitnesses quoted in the magazine live in the Iraqi Kurdish village of Zalem, located a short distance from the border with Iran. Fearing retaliation, they were not identified by name.

"Two additional sources report that the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards officer who likely ordered their detention has since been arrested on charges of smuggling, kidnapping and murder," The Nation said.

Though Iranian officials have made references to the possibility of trying the three Americans for espionage, no official charges have been announced.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reported in August 2009 that the local Iraqi Kurdish tribal leader, Farhad Lohoni, said his relatives witnessed the Iranians crossing the poorly marked border to capture the US hikers.

Relatives of the hikers thanked The Nation for the report in a joint statement.

"While we obviously cannot corroborate the accounts of the witnesses quoted in the article, we know that Shane, Sarah and Josh have consistently told investigators that they had absolutely no intention of entering Iran," the statement read.

"This report appears to confirm that and raises deeply troubling questions, not only about our children's arrest but also about why they remain held without due process or access to their lawyer in violation of Iranian and international law."

According to the relatives, the Iranian judiciary "must act urgently and either release" the trio "immediately or allow them to answer any allegations against them in a fair and open legal proceeding in the presence of their attorney."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on June 12 called on Iran to meet its international obligations and release all political prisoners as well as the three US hikers.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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NEW YORK — The three US hikers being held in Iran after allegedly straying into their country in 2009 were actually detained by Iranian police on the Iraqi side of the border, The Nation magazine reported.
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Friday, 25 Jun 2010 04:49 AM
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