Swiss visit American hikers held in Iran

2nd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss diplomats visited three Americans jailed in Iran and found them in good physical condition.

Washington -- Swiss diplomats visited three Americans jailed in Iran and found them in good physical condition, their families said Friday, nearly three months after the trio were arrested for hiking across the Iraqi border.

The families appealed in a statement to the Iranian government to allow them to speak directly with the three -- Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27 -- expressing concern they remained in custody.

"Every time our telephones ring, we hope it is them calling to tell us they’ve been released," they said in the statement.

The Swiss diplomats visited the Americans at Tehran's notorious Evin prison on Thursday for 40 minutes, bringing them clothes, books and writing materials.

It was the second consular visit by the Swiss, following initial access on 29 September. The Swiss embassy in Tehran represents US interests in Iran.

"We were informed via the State Department that Shane, Sarah and Josh are in good physical shape and we’re obviously happy they received another visit," the families said.

"We hope the next time they meet Shane, Sarah and Josh will be very soon and it will be to put them on a flight home," the families said.

The three US citizens went missing on 31 July after hiking from Iraq's northern Kurdistan region near the Iranian border. Iran later notified the United States, through the Swiss embassy in Tehran, of their arrest.

Relatives of the three travelers said the hikers strayed in the poorly marked border area, but Iranian authorities say they are not yet clear about the Americans' intentions.

AFP / Expatica

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