Sarah Shourd Shares Her Story

Freed hiker recounts time detained in Iranian prison

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Sep 23, 2010  |  Updated 12:10 PM PDT
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Sarah Shourd Shares Her Story

AP

This file photo taken May 20, 2010, shows Sarah Shourd at a hotel in Tehran, Iran.

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We now have a glimpse into the Sarah Shourd story.

Shourd is the UC Berkeley graduate who was released last week from an Iranian prison. She and her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal, were detained for more than a year after they crossed the border into Iran while hiking in Northern Iraq.

Shourd appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show for her first national interview Thursday. Her mother, Nora Shourd, and both mothers of Bauer and Fattal joined her on the set for the exclusive interview.

She spent most of her 410 days detained in solitary confinement in a cell in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison that she says was "eight steps by five steps" and included a bed and an area where she could bathe. She screamed all night long when reality hit her that she was imprisoned.

Although she's on free soil now, Shourd said she feels "numb and a little bit in shock." But, she doesn't feel any animosity toward Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the Iranian people, she said on the show.

"In a situation like this, I don't know who's making the decisions." Shourd said. "I don't know why what happened to us happened ... there's no feeling of blame or anger. There's just a strong desire for it to be over so we can go on with our lives."

She never thought she'd leave Iran without her fellow Cal grads Bauer and Fattal and vows to continue fighting for their release, she said during the interview. She told Oprah and the audience that she wants to meet with Ahminejad this week while he is in New York for the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

Shourd was released after officials in Oman, an ally of Iran and the United States, paid a $500,000 bail for her that satisfied Iranian authorities and apparently did not violate U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. The source of the bail payment has not been disclosed.

The Iranian government charged Shourd, Bauer and Fattal with espionage that could mean trials for the two men and a trial in abstentia for Shourd.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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