Jill Burcum: Event for hikers

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM
  • Updated: November 6, 2009 - 7:03 PM

 

In late September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he'd request maximum leniency and expediency in handling the case of three American hikers detained by his nation since July. So far, his promise has meant nothing. Minnesota native and journalist Shane Bauer, his girlfriend Sarah Shourd and their friend Josh Fattal remained imprisoned in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran.

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. Bauer, 27, Shourd, 31, and Fattal, 27, were hiking in a Kurdish area of northeast Iraq in July when they apparently crossed the unmarked Iranian border and were taken into custody. The hikers have been able to send messages to their families. A message from each hiker will be read at Sunday's events.

"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," Alex Fattal, who is Josh Fattal's brother and a spokesman for the families.

O'Gara's Bar and Grill, 164 Snelling Av. N, is the site of Sunday's event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $5; there's also a silent auction.

Friends and families have posted new videos of the trio taken two days before the ill-fated hike. The videos show the hikers' goofy sides as they explored an area of Iraq considered relatively safe for tourists. The videos further undercut Iranians' suspicions that the three are American spies. They were out for a hike and made a simple mistake for which they are paying a terrible mistake. It's time for them to come home. To see the videos and sign a petition to help them, go to freethehikers.org

JILL BURCUM

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