Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sarah Shourd States the Hikers Weren't Guilty of Espionage/Restoring Honor Rally (Part 12)

YouTube - Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally pt.12 Beck's Monologue

(USA Today) Sarah Shourd, who was held in Iran for more than 13 months and accused of espionage stated Sunday she and the two men who hiked with her never spied or committed any crime.  She called their arrest "a huge misunderstanding."  Disscussing her experience to some degree since her release Tuesday, Shourd underscored her gratitude at being released but said she felt only "one-third free" because her finace, Shane Beuer, and their friend, Josh Fattal, are still detained in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.  "This is not the time to celebrate," Shourd said at a news conference.  "The only thing that enabled me to cross the gulf from prison to freedom alone was the knowledge that Shane and Josh wanted with all their hearts for my suffering to end." 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York on Sunday to attend the United Nations General Assembly.  Ahmadinejad called Shourd's release "a huge humanitarian gesture" in an interview on "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour.  He called on the United States to release eight Iranians detained after arrests which he called illegal.  A composed Shourd with her voice wavering with emotion thanked Iranians and Ahmadinejad in a carefully scripted return that reflected the delicacy of her situation.  She didn't take questions or discuss the conditions in which she had been held, walking away at a Manhattan motel hand-in-hand with her mother Nora, before Fattal's and Bauer's mothers answered reporters' questions. 

Iran had issued espionage-related indictments against Shourd, Bauer and Fattal.  The indictments could bring trials for the two men and proceedings in absentia for Shourd.  Shourd stressed their innocence in a case that has added to the roster of tensions between the United States and Iran.  The three were detained in July 2009 after Iranian officials said they intentionally crossed the country's border from Iraq.  Shourd said Sunday that the three had been hiking in a popular tourist area--near a waterfall in Iraq's Kurdistan region--and had no idea the border was nearby.  "If we were indeed near the Iraq-Iran border, that border was entirely unmarked and indistinguishable," she stated.  "Shane and Josh do not deserve to be in prison one day longer than I was," she said.  "We committed no crime, and we are not spies.  We in no way intended any harm to the Iranian government or its people and believe a huge misunderstanding led to our detention and prolonged imprisonment." 

Shourd's mother stated her daughter has health problems such as a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells.  Shourd said Sunday that doctors in Oman, where she went immediately following her release, had determined that she was physically well.  Officials in Oman, which is an ally of both Iran and the United States--mediated a $500,000 bail for Shourd that satisfied Iranian authorities and apparently did not violate U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.  The source of the bail payment hasn't been disclosed.  After 410 days in Iranian custody, "I walked out of prison with my Spirit bruised but unbroken," she said.  Shourd and Bauer had been living in Damascus, Syria.  Fattal, a fellow graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, visited them last July, and the three went hiking together.  

Given the fact that the U.S. and Iran are at odds with one another, it can be dangerous when tourists from the United States come to visit or stay in the Middle East, especially in areas which are hotbeds of terrorism.  Shourd was a teacher and activist in California who had the desire to improve America's relationship with other countries.  However, there are rogue countries which are very unreasonable and are the enemies of America.  Some dictators such as Ahmadinejad you can't reason with.  Regardless whether or not the hikers were involved in espionage, the Iranian government is going to spin this as espionage.  I believe Ahmadinejad is using Fattal and Bauer as pawns.  Americans are praying for the soon release and return of Bauer and Fattal. 

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