Jill Burcum: Event to mark hikers' 100th day in Iran

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM
  • Updated: November 6, 2009 - 4:09 PM
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An undated photo of Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd.

Photo: Shourd and Bauer families, Associated Press

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Vigils and fundraisers will be held in 20 locations around the world — including St. Paul — on Sunday to mark three American hikers’ 100th day in Iranian detention. Minnesota native and journalist Shane Bauer, his girlfriend Sarah Shourd and their friend Josh Fattal were hiking in a Kurdish area of northeast Iraq in July when they apparently crossed the unmarked Iranian border and were taken into custody. According to the Freethehikers.org website, all three are held in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison — the same facility where North Dakota journalist Roxana Saberi was imprisoned earlier this year. The hikers have able to send messages to their families. A message from each hiker will be read at Sunday’s events.

"Swiss diplomats who were able to visit Shane, Sarah and Josh ... told us they knew similar vigils took place at the end of September,’’ said a statement from Alex Fattal, who is Josh Fattal’s brother and a spokesman for the families. "It’s really important to let Shane, Sarah and Josh know that so many people around the world care about them and want them released as soon as possible. We know from the messages we’ve received back through the Swiss that this support is a wonderful source of light during a dark time.’’

O’Gara’s Bar and Grill, 164 Snelling Ave. North, is the site of Sunday’s event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the restaurant’s Shamrock Room. Admission is $5; there’s also a silent auction.

Friends and families of Bauer, 27, Shourd, 31, and Fattal, 27, have posted new videos of the trio taken two days before the ill-fated hike. The videos — which include Fattal doing a rap on how hot it is in Iraq — show the hikers’ goofy sides and are intended to undercut Iranian suspicions that the three are American spies. To see the videos and sign a petition to help them, go to freethehikers.org

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