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Lawmakers urge Iran to release hikers

By Josh Richman
Friday, July 30th, 2010 at 12:12 pm in Arlen Specter, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Dianne Feinstein, Iran, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.

California’s U.S. Senators were among six who today announced a resolution urging the Iranian government to immediately, unconditionally release three UC Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran since last July.

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Sarah Shourd’s, Josh Fattal’s and Shane Bauer’s capture hiking in a poorly marked border area in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., introduced today’s resolution.

Boxer, Casey, Franken, Klobuchar and Specter in May publicly urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to immediately release the three hikers, or at least that their families be allowed to visit them; the hikers mothers subsequently were allowed to visit.

The full text of the Senators’ resolution:

Urging the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Immediately and Unconditionally Release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer on Humanitarian Grounds
Whereas on July 31, 2009, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer were taken into custody by Iranian officials after they may have inadvertently crossed the poorly marked Iranian border while hiking in the Kurdistan region of Iraq;
Whereas Sarah, Josh, and Shane have been held since last year in Evin prison in Tehran;
Whereas the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran;
Whereas during the period of their detention, Sarah, Josh, and Shane have only been afforded the opportunity to see their families during a brief visit in May;
Whereas according to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems;
Whereas the families of Sarah, Josh and Shane have suffered greatly in the absence of their loved ones;
Whereas July 31, 2010 will mark the one-year anniversary of their detention;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate, That Congress—
recognizes that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been held in custody in Iran for one year; and
urges the Government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer, on humanitarian grounds and allow them to reunite with their families in the United States.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, also released a statement on the hikers today. Read that after the jump…

“One year ago today, Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd were detained by the government of Iran while attempting to hike in the mountain region in Iraqi Kurdistan. Today, people across this country and the world are speaking with one voice in calling for the swift release of Joshua, Shane, and Sarah.

“Reports of eyewitness accounts that these individuals were abducted outside of Iranian territory have further highlighted the tragic nature of their year-long imprisonment without trial.

“The fact is the release of these individuals is not a political, diplomatic, or strategic decision, but rather a long overdue resolution to this humanitarian case.

“On this unfortunate milestone of their detention, I renew my call for the Iranian government to immediately release Joshua, Shane, and Sarah so that they can finally be reunited with their friends, family, and loved ones.

“There are common values which bind all of us together as a global community of people and nations, including a basic respect for human rights and intolerance for injustice.

“I urge the government of Iran to live up to those ideals and for the United States government to play a constructive role in securing the release of these three young American citizens.”

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  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Leave it to B. Lee, Ph.D., to throw an olive branch into the mix. The only “ideals” Iran lives up to can be found in their twisted version of Islam plus those tactics that keep the mullahs in power.