Freed hiker says she met Ahmadinejad in New York

Sarah is trying hard to win the release of her fiancé and another friend.

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2010, 09:26 AM IST

New York: Freed US hiker Sarah Shourd has said she met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York to plead for the release of her fiancé and another friend still jailed in Iran.

"For me to talk to the President, it is something I prayed for while in prison," Shourd told ABC News on Friday.

"I just want to thank Mr Ahmadinejad for this gesture of allowing my mother and I to meet with him and for the mothers of Shane and Josh. It was a very gracious gesture and a good meeting."

Shourd, 32, was released last week after being detained in July 2009 in Iran, but had to leave behind her fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal.

The hikers say they strayed by accident into Iran in July 2009 while hiking in the mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. But Iranian authorities have alleged that they were spying.

Ahmadinejad told a press conference earlier in New York: "I would have no problem meeting the American." But he did not confirm a meeting had taken place.

On Wednesday, the Iranian President said there was a chance the two other American hikers could be freed, but cautioned it was in the hands of the judge.

Shourd had been released "because of mercy, compassion, and as a humanitarian gesture”, he told CNN. "As for the others, yes there is a chance. But the judge has to take care of the case."

Shourd who returned to the United States at the weekend has been campaigning hard to win the release of the two men.

PTI