This piece was guest-posted by Roz Hunter, a Nation intern and freelance writer based in New York City.
Nearly one year after Iranian police arrested and charged three Americans with trespassing and espionage, The Nation, with support from the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, recently reported that the hikers were actually arrested on Iraqi, not Iranian, territory, as charged.
According to Kurdish witnesses, the Americans – Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal – were hiking up a mountain in the Khormal region of Iraq near the Iranian border when uniformed guards of the Iranian national police tried to coerce the hikers to cross the border into Iran using “threatening” and “menacing” gestures and firing gunshots in the air. When the hikers refused, the guards crossed into Iraq and abducted them.
Iranian officials have continued to assert not only that the hikers were arrested in Iran, but that they were conducting espionage as well, a charge that The Nation, the State Department, and the friends and families of Bauer, Shourd, and Fattal wholly reject.
Watch Esther Kaplan, investigative editor at The Nation Institute, discuss recent developments and the continued detention of the hikers, in a special commentary on GRITtv with Laura Flanders. The Nation now collaborates with GRIT on Monday’s program, and The Nation on GRITtv videos are then surfaced at TheNation.com throughout the week.
Then, check out the Free the Hikers site, which presents opportunities to take action to help secure the release of the hikers and offer news, updates, and multimedia background. Sign a petition to be delivered to Iran’s Mission to the United Nations, write letters to Iranian and American officials and to the hikers themselves, and spread the word about the travesty that is the hikers’ continued imprisonment.