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US hiker pleads for friends' release

Sarah Shroud says that until her fiancé and friend are released from prison in Iran she will only be “one-third free”.

Sarah Shourd speaks during a news conference in New York.
Sarah Shourd speaks during a news conference in New York.

AFTER OVER A year in prison in Iran, American hiker Sarah Shroud was finally released on Tuesday – however, Shroud has said that she feels only “one-third free” as both her fiancé and friend remain in prison.

During a press conference in New York she pleaded with the Iranian government to release Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. She did not criticise Tehran for her detainment but instead praised their decision to grant her “compassionate release”.

She said:

Getting on the plane in Tehran was one of the most memorable and poignant moments of my life, but this is no time to celebrate.

My disappointment at not sharing that moment with Shane and Josh was crushing. I stand before you today only one-third free. That was the last thing Josh said to me [before] I walked through those prison doors, [that] they felt one-third free at that moment, and so did I.

Meanwhile Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in New York for a UN General Assembly, commented that Tehran made “a huge humanitarian measure’’ in releasing Shourd and that the US should release eight Iranian prisoners to return the favour.

Shourd was released on Tuesday following $500,000 bail being posted. The Omani government forwarded the sum to Iran, however it has not yet been established who paid the money.

She vowed to campaign until her fiancé and friend are released.

Ahmadinejad has not given any indication that they men will be released, ”They violated the law,” he said.

Shourd had been living in Damascus, in Syria, with Shane Bauer. She was working as an English teacher and Bauer was working as a freelance journalist. Their old college friend, environmental activist Josh Fattal, went to visit the couple last July and the three went hiking.

During a hiking trip in summer 2009, the three were arrested after allegedly trespassing into Iranian territory.

Shourd said yesterday that they had gone hiking at an Iraqi waterfall and that if they had passed the border into Iran they had been unaware of doing so.

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