Moms of 3 US hikers arrive in NY before Iran trip

Three American hikers have been held in Iran for 10 months.

Updated: May 17, 2010, 14:57 PM IST

New York: The mothers of three American hikers held for 10 months in Iran know that their visit with their children may be brief so they`ve thought about what they want to say and do.

Cindy Hickey wants to make sure her son and the two friends imprisoned with him see that there`s a future in which they`re free — a light at the end of the tunnel.

"We want to see our kids and let them know: We`re going to do everything we possibly can. ... This will be done," Hickey said on Sunday after arriving in New York. The trio expect to fly to Iran within days.

Hickey`s son, 27-year-old Shane Bauer, his girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, and their friend Josh Fattal were arrested along the Iraqi border last July and accused by Iran of spying. Relatives say the three were on vacation in the scenic Kurdistan region of northern Iraq and, if they crossed the border, it was by accident.

Now that she and the other mothers have been granted visas to Iran and believe they`ll be able to visit their children, Laura Fattal is intent on using whatever time she gets with her son to listen.

The suburban Philadelphia woman wants to hear about her 27-year-old son`s day-to-day existence and how the trio has gotten by. They`ve been permitted so few visits from the outside — only three by the Swiss diplomats charged with visiting them in prison since the US has no official presence in Iran, she says. She wants to give them the chance to be heard.

Nora Shourd wants to squeeze her daughter extra tight. Not just for a hug — although there`s that too. She wants to feel through the loose covering she expects 31-year-old Sarah will be wearing to make sure she`s not just skin and bones.

And the mothers want to give them letters and photographs that they hope their children will be allowed to keep with them — tangible pieces of home. For Sarah, who her family says is kept alone in a cell for all but about 30 minutes a day, her mother has brought pens and empty books, in the hopes she`ll be able to write. There are photos of Sarah`s sister`s wedding, which she missed.

Bauer`s youngest sister, Shannon, made a tiny booklet for her brother that folds out into a large photo spread covered in messages.

Bureau Report