USA: Mothers of U.S. hikers detained in Iran speak on the eve of their trip to TehranRecord ID: 313775
- Title: USA: Mothers of U.S. hikers detained in Iran speak on the eve of their trip to Tehran
- Date: 18th May 2010
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (MAY 17, 2010) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAURA FATTAL, MOTHER OF DETAINED HIKER, JOSH FATTAL, SAYING: "There is a calm and composure about Josh that I hold on tightly to because this has been such a long, protracted detention, but I think for all of them, they are feeling extremely isolated. They are very concerned the case has not moved forward and it is wearing on them terribly -- psychologically and also physically."
- Reuters ID: LVA3TELY47ZLNDM3WOBHVEZ99W7A
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:25
- Topics: Legal System,International Relations
- Story Text: The mothers of three American hikers held in Iran gathered in New York on Monday night (May 17) ahead of their flight to Tehran, where they hope to see their children and secure their release.
The three hikers -- Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, have been detained in an Iranian prison since July last year on espionage allegations.
"We've been assured that we're going to see our children. We are certain that that's going to happen. That is the main focus of the visit, but you know, on top of that we're going to, you know, really plead for their release while we are there," Sarah's mother, Nora Shourd, told Reuters.
"We have seven days there and we are very, very hopeful that we'll immediately see our children, Josh, Shane and Sarah and...more than once," added Laura Fattal, the mother of Josh.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Haidar Moslehi said last month Tehran had proof that the three Americans had links to intelligence services.
The three were detained after they entered Iran from northern Iraq, a case that has further complicated poor relations between Tehran and Washington.
Their families have said they were hiking and accidentally strayed across the border from Iraq.
"It is kind of a shocker when you get that kind of news from Iran, but of course, you know, our reaction to it is, the reality, how we know our children and we know exactly who they are. We trust them and we know that none of it is true. It's just completely absurd," Shourd's mother said.
The other two mothers also said the holiday trips had been planned months in advance.
"Actually, I talked to Shane very frequently a week before his trip. We had talked about this trip. A month before he had shared that he they had been planning for this trip, so it was strictly a vacation. They were planning on being gone for a week," said Cindy Bauer, Shane's mother.
Shane and Sarah were a couple and had planned the trip together. Their friend Josh joined them in Damascus, where they had been living, and from there the three embarked on their trip, which Josh's mother explained went terribly wrong.
"He was there on a very short vacation and then he was planning on coming home and so that eight day vacation has turned into an almost-ten month detention," she said.
The White House has called for their immediate release. Under Iran's Islamic law, espionage can be punishable by death.
Shane's mother said they did not want their children to be used as pawns in a political game.
"We've been told by the Iranian authorities that they granted our visas under humanitarian conditions. This shouldn't be tied up in politics. We feel very strongly about that," Bauer told Reuters.
The mothers had contact with their children in the form of a phone call back in March which brought temporary comfort, but they said they know their children are suffering both psychologically and physically from the ordeal.
"I think for all of them, they are feeling extremely isolated. They are very concerned the case has not moved forward and it is wearing on them terribly -- psychologically and also physically," Fattal explained.
"We had one phone call home March 9th and that was a very wonderful phone call."
"I spoke to Shane for approximately a minute which was rehearsed over and over in my head. You know I've been waiting for these opportunities for months. It was filled with a lot of 'I love you's', a lot of 'I'm grateful' and 'How are you?'," Bauer added.
The three women will fly to Tehran early on Tuesday morning (May 18) from New York where they hope to be able to secure their children's release within their seven day stay -- something Bauer says will be the most significant moment in their lives as mothers.
"The moment of...the moment we're together is just going to be very hard to describe. We've been waiting for this forever and you know, we've been talking earlier today, I shared with the other moms that our first moment as mothers is to see our child, when they're born. This is going to far outweigh that."
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