Iranian Guards Compare Evin Prison to Guantanamo

The release of detained American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer by the Iranian government last Wednesday was a rare bit of good news. They have now arrived back in the United States and on Sunday gave their first press conference on US soil.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal at press conference in New York, September 25 (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Josh and Shane were detained by the Iranian authorities, along with their friend Sarah Shourd, while hiking along the Iraq- Iran border in 2009.

They were held in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison on espionage charges for more than two years. They had little contact with the outside world and communication with their families was almost impossible.


Flawed Trial Of US Hikers Held In Iran Resumes

Update: The trial failed to resume on Wednesday and the Iranian lawyer of the two US citizens has lodged a formal protest against the delay.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal © APGraphicsBank

On May 11, Iran is set to resume the flawed trial of two US hikers apparently held for political reasons for nearly two years.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested while hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area in July 2009. The exact circumstances of their arrest are unclear, but Iranian authorities have charged them with espionage and illegal entry.

Iran’s failure to meet international standards for a fair trial for Shane and Josh indicates a political motive in holding them which may amount to hostage-taking.

Amnesty International calls for their immediate release.  You can join us by taking action right now.


Iran's Humanitarian Release of U.S. Hiker is Welcomed

Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Michael Bauer

Amnesty International and other organizations have harshly—and rightly—criticized Iran’s egregious human rights violations. However it is truly a cause for celebration when the Iranian authorities decide to take the high road on human rights, and these actions must be recognized and welcomed. In fact we are doubly grateful that in the past couple of days the Iranian government has released on bail both American hiker Sarah Shourd as well as prominent human rights attorney Shiva Nazar Ahari. These humanitarian gestures were performed at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, to mark the Muslim holiday ‘Eid al Fitr, a time when acts of clemency and mercy are traditionally performed.  Iranian Authorities have also cited Ms Shourd’s health problems as grounds for the decision to grant her release.

Sarah Shourd had been arrested along with her friends Shane Michael Bauer and Joshua Fattal while they were hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area on 31 July 2009 and they had been detained since then in Evin Prison in Tehran. Iranian officials have alleged that the three U.S. citizens planned to carry out espionage. Amnesty International recognizes that all nations have a right to secure their borders and to ensure that foreign nationals with hostile intent do not threaten their citizens or perform criminal acts in their territory. However, the three U.S. hikers were held without charge or trial for over one year and not one shred of evidence has ever been produced against them. At the time Amnesty International released its 30 July 2010 statement calling for their release if they were not to be charged with a recognizable criminal offense, one entire year had gone by—more than enough time for the Iranian government to present any evidence it may have held against them.

In calling for their release after one year of detention without charge or trial, Amnesty International was holding the Iranian authorities to the exact same standards that it holds other governments. Amnesty International has consistently and vigorously condemned the U.S. government for its detention without charge of “terror” suspects at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the Egyptian government for detaining suspects indefinitely on national security grounds, and the Israeli government for its unwarranted use of “administrative detention” to hold Palestinians for periods of up to several years without charge or trial.