News / Middle East

US Calls Iran's Year-Long Detention of Hikers 'Unjustifiable'

Secretary of State Clinton calls on Tehran to "do the right thing" and release them.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marked the first anniversary of Iran's detention of three American hikers with a call on Tehran to "do the right thing" and release them. Amnesty International has also appealed for their freedom.

Both U.S. officials and family members of the three Americans reject Iranian suggestions they were spying and Secretary Clinton, in a statement marking the anniversary of their capture, says their continued detention is unjustifiable.

The three Americans - 31-year-old Sara Shourd - and Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 27, were arrested by Iranian authorities on July 31 of last year for allegedly crossing into Iran while hiking along the rugged border between Iran and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Various Iranian officials have suggested they intended to carry out acts of espionage against Iran but no charges have been filed against them despite intensive interrogation.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley read a statement by Secretary Clinton on what he termed a "tragic" anniversary.

"Their release by the Iranian government is long overdue," he said. "Their continued detention is unjustifiable. Iran has long espoused to the world its commitment to justice, security and peace for all. We urge Iran to take action on the three hikers detained for a year in Evin prison without charge to match these stated commitments. We call on Iran to do the right thing and allow these three Americans to return home to their families."

Amnesty International-USA, in its statement on the anniversary, said it appears clear that Iranian authorities do not have substantial grounds to prosecute the three Americans, and that they may be held solely because of their nationality.

The human rights group's Middle East director, Malcolm Smart, cited statements by Iranian leaders including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggesting the three are being held to pressure the U.S. government for diplomatic concessions.

He said if that is the case, their detention would amount to hostage-taking and be a very serious abuse of human rights.

Swiss embassy officials who represent U.S. interests in Tehran have not been allowed to visit the three since April. But in late May they were taken to a Tehran hotel and allowed to meet their mothers who had traveled from the United States.

Last month, the U.S. news magazine The Nation said an investigation by its reporters turned up two Iraqi Kurdish witnesses who said Iranian police crossed several yards into Iraq to seize the hikers after they ignored shouted demands and a warning shot to enter Iran.

One of the Americans, Shane Bauer, also was heard denying walking into Iran during a brief film clip of his Tehran reunion with his mother on May 20.

In its repeated calls for the release of the hikers, the State Department has also appealed to Iran to provide information on the whereabouts of Robert Levinson. The former agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation disappeared shortly after arriving at an Iranian island resort in 2007.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More