Freed Belgians urge Iran to release jailed US trio

29th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two Belgians who spent three months in an Iranian prison last year urged Tehran to release three Americans they met in the jail, whose cases they fear have become "politicised".

BRUSSELS - Idesbald van den Bosch and Vincent Falleur said they were arrested on suspicion of spying on September 5 while cycling through Iran, and met the Americans in Evin prison, Iran's biggest and most notorious.

The jail -- where the duo say they spent one month each in solitary confinement -- has been home to a succession of noted political prisoners, although Iran does not recognise this as a category of inmate.

The pair were released on December 8, and said Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, who they say were picked up while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan, were in solitary confinement at the time of their liberation.

"We are deeply concerned about their well-being," the pair wrote of the trio in a statement. "We appeal to the Iranian authorities to act in a humanitarian fashion and not politicise their case.

"Iran, please, free the hikers," they added.

Van den Bosch said they met the US trio in Evin. "I was in the same corridor as one of the American (men)," he told AFP. "I saw him pass me on several occasions when he was being taken for interrogation.

He said Falleur was "in the same corridor as the other American (man)."

Washington has on several occasions called for the trio's release.


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