Iran Released American Hikers

Stop Fundamentalism – Iranian news agencies reported today that the two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been released.  An Omani private plane landed in Tehran airport late last week to carry the two to Oman as soon as they were free. 

The release of the two Americans who were recently sentenced to 8 years of prison by the Iranian judiciary had become the subject of a major internal feud among ruling hardliners in Iran.

Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd who was released earlier in September 2010 on bail, were arrested in July 2009 near the border of Iran and Iraq and were charged by Iranian authorities with espionage and illegally crossing the border.  The hikers deny and say they never crossed the border into Iran.

The Iranian lawyer for the three told the reporters Wednesday that the government of Oman has provided the bail for the release of the men. Representatives of the Omani government and the ambassador of Switzerland were present at the Evin prison at the time of their release.

A convoy of vehicles was seen to leave the Evin prison for Tehran airport carrying the freed hikers. 

A welcoming group including Sarah Shourd has been waiting in Omani capital to welcome the two.

President Obama welcomed the release of the prisoners.

“I welcome the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from detention in Iran and am very pleased that they are being reunited with their loved ones,” President Obama said in a written statement. “The tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has won my admiration, and is now coming to an end with Josh and Shane back in their arms. All Americans join their families and friends in celebrating their long-awaited return home.”