Casey Urges Release of American Hikers as Iranian New Year Marked

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the Iranian government to release the three American hikers as Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, is commemorated.

“At this festive time, when Mother Nature is beginning a new cycle and families around the world are gathering to celebrate a new calendar year, I would like to appeal to the good will of the Iranian government by calling for the immediate release of Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer,” said Senator Casey.  “These three young American hikers have spent almost eight months in confinement in Iran’s Evin prison for allegedly crossing a poorly marked border.”
 
Josh Fattal, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer have been detained in Iran since their arrest on July 31, 2009 for allegedly crossing an unmarked border between Iraq and Iran. They had been hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.


Full text of Senator Casey’s speech is below:

Statement of Senator Bob Casey
March 18, 2010

Mr. President, I rise today to commemorate Nowruz, the traditional Iranian New Year, which begins with the arrival of spring on the Vernal Equinox.  More than one million Iranian Americans in the United States as well as millions of Iranians and others around the world celebrate Nowruz, which embodies the ideals of understanding and appreciation of others. Universally, the beginning of spring is associated with rebirth.

At this festive time, when Mother Nature is beginning a new cycle and families around the world are gathering to celebrate a new calendar year, I would like to appeal to the good will of the Iranian government by calling for the immediate release of Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd. and Shane Bauer. These three young American hikers have spent almost eight months in confinement in Iran’s Evin prison for allegedly crossing a poorly marked border.  We are heartened that the Iran recently allowed the three young Americans to call their families for the first time since their detention on July 31st last year. Still, we ask at the beginning of Persian New Year that Josh, Sarah and Shane be released to celebrate a spring with their desperately concerned parents and other family members.  Laura Fattal, mother of Josh, recently appealed to the Iranian authorities, asking for them "to show compassion and allow our families to be reunited in joy and happiness as well."

I would like to recognize the Senators from California and Minnesota, as well as Senator Specter who have worked tirelessly to reunite Josh, Sarah and Shane with their families. I hope that Supreme Leader Khamenei, in the spirit of Nowruz, will make the humanitarian gesture of immediately releasing Josh Sarah, and Shane.


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