An American woman, Sarah Shroud, was released from an Iranian prison in September after being incarcerated for 14 months. She says she is not planning on returning to Iran to stand trial along with her fiance and friend who were also charged with spying for the U.S. Sarah told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and returning would be “far too traumatic after what I’ve already been through.”
The three Americans claim that they were on an innocent hiking trip during their vacation in Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region in the north of Iraq, when Iranian soldiers arrested them on July 31, 2009. U.S. authorities repeatedly called for the release of the hikers, denying that the hikers were involved in espionage.
In September, Shroud was released from Iranian custody on $500,000 bail of which the source has not been disclosed. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and friend, Josh Fattal, are both still imprisoned in Tehran. They were scheduled for their trial to resume on May 11th but they have yet been brought to court. They pleaded innocent at the first trial in February; Shroud pleaded innocent in absentia. They say they didn’t even realize they had crossed the border into Iran.
On Monday, the two were allowed to make only their third call home since their arrest. Bauer and Fattal told their families they had staged a 17-day hunger strike after they were prevented from receiving letters.
On Tuesday, Muhammad Ali led a prominent group of U.S. Muslims in appealing for the release of Bauer and Fattal. Like the former heavyweight champion, the two Americans only “wanted to experience the world, they wanted to experience other cultures, they wanted to experience other people,” said Ali’s wife, Lonnie, who spoke on his behalf.
Earlier Tuesday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told Iranian state TV that calling them hikers is a “joke.” Shroud says that “Their [Bauer and Fattal’s] detention has everything to do with animosity between Iran and the United States, and nothing to do with anything they have done.”
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