Marking 200 Days in Iran

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    NEWSLETTERS

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

    Relatives and friends of three American hikers detained in Iran are planning a vigil to mark the trio's more than 200 days in  captivity.

    Sarah Shourd, 31, Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley, have been held in Iran since July 31.

    Though tomorrow will actually mark the hikers' 206th day in Iranian custody, supporters are calling their gathering a "200-Day Vigil" to coincide with similar events planned across the country.

    The Bay Area vigil is set to begin at noon at the Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley.

    Organizers plan to assemble an outdoor "love altar" to express their support for the hikers, whom Iran's government has accused of spying for the United States.

    Relatives and friends maintain the hikers mistakenly crossed an unmarked border into Iran while exploring a wilderness area in neighboring Iraq.

    Tomorrow's vigil will involve "friends and family bringing things to create something beautiful to honor our friends," said Jennifer Miller, a friend of the detained hikers.

    Shourd, Bauer and Fattal loved the outdoors, so tomorrow's vigil and altar will reflect that, Miller said.

    The vigil will also provide an opportunity to support the hikers' families, Miller said.

    "It's a struggle for them to have not heard anything from their children in over 200 days, and to not know what the next step is," Miller said.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged there are no negotiations currently taking place between the United States and Iran.  Earlier this month, Clinton called on Iran's government to "unilaterally  release our detained citizens."

    Supporters of the detained hikers have set up a Web site with an online petition for their release at http://freethehikers.org.

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