America

Iran To Release 1 Of 3 U.S. Hikers Saturday

U.S. hikers in Iran

American hikers Shane Bauer, left, Josh Fattal, center, and Sarah Shourd prior to meeting with their mothers at the Esteghlal hotel in Tehran, Friday, May 21, 2010. STR/Press TV hide caption

itoggle caption STR/Press TV

Iran is reportedly poised to release one of three U.S. hikers captured near its border with Syria and in Iranian custody for more than a year.

According to reports, the Iranians are expected to release Sarah Shourd, 31, the woman who was captured with her two friends Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, and held since July 2009.

Iran made the announcement in a text message to reporters.

An excerpt from the Associated Press:

The Culture Ministry sent a text message to reporters telling them to come to a Tehran hotel on Saturday morning to witness the release. The site is the same one where the three were allowed theonly meeting with their mothers since they were detained in July 2009...

"Offering congratulations on Eid al-Fitr," the ministry text message said, referring to the feast that marks the end of Ramadan. "The release of one of the detained Americans will be Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Estaghlal hotel."

The Iranian message gave no other details about who would be freed. But Sarah Shourd, 31, has told her mother she has serious medical problems...

The mother of the detained American woman, Nora Shourd, said her daughter told her in a telephone call in August that prison officials have denied her requests for medical treatment. The mother said they talked about her daughter's medical problems, including a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells, and her solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison.

The U.S. and Iran have disputed the circumstances surrounding how the American hikers wound up in Iranian custody. The U.S. says the Americans remained on the Syrian side of the border during their hike which contradicts the Iranian version of events.

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