Iran Considering Families' Request to Visit Detained Hikers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Freethehikers.org
    Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer have been held in Iran since July 31.

    Three UC Berkeley grads being detained in an Iranian prison might get a visit from their families.

    Iranian authorities are considering a request by the families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal to visit the trio in prison, Iran's top human rights official said Tuesday.

    Mohammad Javad Larijani -- the secretary general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights and a member of one of the country's most influential families -- said his office has recommended that the request be granted.

    "We are working on that with the security people and judges," he told reporters in Geneva. "We have recommended that the families should be able to see them, and I hope that this will be done."

    Larijani said the Swiss ambassador in Tehran made the request to his office "about 2-3 weeks ago." Switzerland has represented U.S. consular interests in Iran since Washington and Tehran broke off diplomatic relations following the Islamic revolution three decades ago.

    Swiss Foreign Ministry officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The families of the Bauer, Shourd and Fattal say they were just on a carefree vacation, hiking in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region in July when they accidentally crossed the border into Iran. They have even provided video clips of the three dancing, singing and joking against a backdrop of the city of Irbil in Iraq that they say proves their loved ones just wanted to have a fun trip.

    Iran's foreign minister said in late December that the three would be tried in court, but he did not say when that would happen or what the three would be charged with, other than to say they had "suspicious aims."