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UAB Lecture Series: The Hikers Held Hostage in Iran

Submitted by jbaggett on Thursday, 17 November 2011No Comment
UAB Lecture Series: The Hikers Held Hostage in Iran

The UAB Lecture Series committee will be hosting “The Hikers Held Hostage in Iran” on November 30 at 7:00 PM in Bartow Arena.  The lecture is FREE and open to the public with seating as available.  This lecture is about the three American hikers who captured international headlines when on July 31, 2009 they were detained for alleged espionage into Iranian territory.  Two years later, after public outcries, international campaigns and negotiation attempts, the friends are now free.  This will be their first talk on an American college campus.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan near the Ahmed Awa waterfall when they were detained by Iranian border guards. They had visas from Turkey and planned to spend five days visiting the area. None of them spoke Persian and had no plans of going into Iran. Conflicting news reports vary between whether Iranian forces entered Iraq to arrest the friends or if they mistakenly strayed across the poorly marked border.

Shourd was released 14 months later on “humanitarian grounds.” But, two years after their arrest, Bauer and Fattal were convicted of “illegal entry” and “espionage” and each sentenced to eight years in prison. The men were released on September 21, 2011, after paying bail of 5 billion Iranian rial, or about $465,000 U.S. dollars.

The three friends are all U.C. Berkeley graduates. Bauer, a California native, is an award-winning freelance journalist who has worked for Pacifica News Service, Mother Jones and The Nation. Shourd, who grew up in Los Angeles, worked in education and social justice in Damascus, Syria. She became engaged to Bauer while imprisoned. Joshua “Josh” Fattal, a Pennsylvania native, is an environmentalist and educator who was a teaching fellow with the International Honors Program “Health and Community” study abroad program in Switzerland, India, China and South Africa.

For more information, call 205-975-9509.

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