AFP: Democratic US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Iran’s release of one of three US hikers it detained in late July 2009, Sarah Shourd, but called on Tehran to free her two companions.
WASHINGTON, September 14, 2010 (AFP) – Democratic US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Iran’s release of one of three US hikers it detained in late July 2009, Sarah Shourd, but called on Tehran to free her two companions.
“With her unlawful and unnecessary detention coming to an end, we join the international community in calling on the Iranian government to immediately release both Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“We hope they will soon be reunited with their families as well,” said the California Democrat.
Iranian authorities arrested the three on July 31, 2009 after they strayed into Iran from Iraq, and accused them of “spying and illegally entering the country.”
The three have rejected the charges, insisting that they mistakenly entered Iran after getting lost during a trek in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iran freed Shourd Tuesday on bail of around 500,000 dollars (391,000 euros), but her companions have been remanded in custody for two months.
The release of Shourd, 32, could help ease the tension between arch-foes Iran and the United States to some extent which has peaked in recent months over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
“Members of Congress and the American people are grateful that Sarah Shourd will finally be able to return home, and we join her family and friends in celebrating her release,” said Pelosi.
Earlier, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Shourd’s home state, hailed her release.
“Our hopes and prayers have been answered with Sarah’s release, but we cannot rest until Shane and Josh are allowed to return home safely to their families,” said Boxer.
The US Senate last month approved a resolution backed by Boxer and other US senators from the hikers’ home states urging Iran to free Shourd, Bauer and Fattal.