Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, two American hikers who were released from Iranian prison, held a press conference in New York on 25 September 2011 upon their arrival in the United States. They were joined by their colleague, Sarah Shroud, who was released from Iranian custody last year. Watch video excerpts of their statements above. Some of the highlights of the statements by Shane Baeur are:

  • “Many times, too many times, we heard the screaming of other prisoners being beaten and there was nothing we could do.”
  • “Sarah, Josh, and I have experienced a taste of Iranian regime’s brutality…It is the Iranian people who bear the brunt of this government’s cruelty and disregard for human rights. There are people in Iran who are imprisoned for years simply for attending a protest, for writing a pro-democracy blog, or for being a member of an unpopular faith. Journalists remain behind bars and innocent people have been executed.”
  • “You may ask us ‘Now that you are free, can you forgive the Iranian government for what it has done to you.’ Our answer is this: ‘How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience?'”
  • “They [the Iranian regime] do not deserve undue credit for ending what they had no right and no justification to start in the first place.”
  • “Solitary confinement was the worst experience of all our lives, it was a nightmare that Sarah had to endure for 14 months.”
  • “No evidence was ever presented against us [regarding charges of espionage]. That is because there is no evidence, because we are completely innocent.”
  • Two court sessions we attended were total sham. They were made up of ridiculous lies that depicted us as being involved in elaborate American and Israeli conspiracy to undermine Iran.”
  • “If the Iranian government wants to change its image in the world and ease international pressure, it should release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately. They deserve their freedom as much as we do.”