Iran General NewsRamos-Horta appeals to Iran to release US hikers

Ramos-Horta appeals to Iran to release US hikers


AFP: East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, appealed Sunday to Iran to release two American hikers arrested on the Iraqi border in 2009 and accused of espionage.

by Stephen Coates

JAKARTA, May 1, 2011 (AFP) – East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, appealed Sunday to Iran to release two American hikers arrested on the Iraqi border in 2009 and accused of espionage.

The trial of Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal will resume on May 11, 18 months after they were detained for alleged spying and illegally entering the Islamic republic across a remote section of the border.

The three have pleaded not guilty to the spying charges and maintain they innocently strayed into Iran across the unmarked frontier.

Iran has dismissed repeated pleas from the United States for the release of Bauer and Fattal after it allowed Shourd to return home on bail of around $500,000 in September last year on humanitarian grounds.

“It is hard for any of us to appreciate the torment these individuals… and their families have suffered since that fateful day,” Ramos-Horta, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner, told AFP in a statement.

“It is harder still to fathom what Iran expects to gain by continuing to hold the two men in the group captive, with almost no contact with their families, and by putting them on trial on May 11 on the unfounded charge of espionage.”

He said Iran had summoned Shourd, Bauer’s fiancee, back for the trial “even though a senior Iranian official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, has said publicly that she is incapable of spying”.

As a political exile, Ramos-Horta lobbied the world for an end to Indonesia’s brutal 1975-1999 military occupation of his tiny half-island state.

He has not previously been involved in the issue of the Iran detentions.

But he said he identified with the “idealistic young Americans” because they had a “history of involvement in causes in support of legitimate independence movements and the downtrodden”.

Iran knew the Americans were not spies and “appears to need a graceful way out of the corner it finds itself in”, the East Timorese president said.

“A humanitarian release for Mother’s Day on May 8, or a quick trial on May 11 that results in an acquittal or sentencing to time served for illegal entry offer Iran just such an opportunity,” he said.

Shourd, a teacher, writer and women’s rights activist, grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Damascus where she met Bauer, a fluent Arabic-speaking freelance journalist.

Bauer was in Syria helping to organise anti-US demonstrations aimed at criticising the war in Iraq. Shourd and Bauer became engaged in prison in Iran.

Fattal, an environmentalist and teacher, had travelled to Damascus in 2009 where he met Shourd and Bauer.

Their case has aggravated the animosity between Iran and the United States, which along with other powers accuses the Shiite theocracy of illegally developing a nuclear weapons programme.

Latest news

NCRI Hosts Conference in France To Address the Need To Hold the Iranian Regime Accountable for Its Crimes

On January 17, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted a conference in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris,...

Iran’s Regime Tries To Whitewash Its Crimes

Iran’s State Prisons and Security and Corrective Measures Organization, which is under the supervision of the Judiciary, has distributed...

Iran: Raisi’s Six-Month Economic Record Contrasts Sharply With His 7,000-Page Program

In the summer of 2021, the Iran regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei installed the infamous Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi...

Iran’s Export in the Casino of the State Mafia

The Chairman of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Mohammad Khansari, has stated that the total volume of exports of...

Will Iraq Get Ever Free of Iran’s Sway?

After many years and massive popular protests, there are indications that Iraq’s body politic has decided to separate its...

Tehran Downplays Real Statistics of Car Accident Fatalities

The number of road accidents and fatalities in Iran has significantly increased during recent weeks. However, this is not...

Must read

Iran rejects U.N. vote on arms, financial sanctions

Reuters: Iran rejected a repeated demand by the U.N....

Council of Europe urges Iran to abide by nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

AP: The Council of Europe called Tuesday on Iran...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you