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Two Americans jailed in Iran reported in poor health

Last Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:05

Minneapolis: Two of three American hikers jailed in Iran for nearly nine months are in poor health and told Swiss diplomats — their first outside visitors since October — that they were considering a hunger strike, their mothers said late Thursday.

Sarah Shourd, who is being held alone in a cell, is suffering a serious gynaecological condition and battling depression, while Shane Bauer has a stomach ailment, their mothers said.

Shourd, Bauer and Josh Fattal met earlier Thursday with the diplomats, who represent US interests in the absence of a US-Iran diplomatic relationship, at Evin Prison in Tehran. But they were given few details of their medical conditions.

"I`m really alarmed," said Nora Shourd, who lives in Oakland, Calif. "I`m alarmed for Sarah`s health. I think she needs immediate care."

The three University of California at Berkeley graduates were detained on July 31, after apparently straying into Iran while hiking in a scenic part of Iraq. This month, Iran`s intelligence minister accused them of having links to US intelligence services, which their families said was absurd.

Iranian officials have suggested each will be prosecuted, but no trial has been set. Although their families hired an Iranian attorney, he has not been allowed to see them.

Bauer and Fattal, who are both 27, and Shourd, 31, had been allowed no sympathetic visitors in months, though they were allowed to call their mothers in early March. The calls lasted about a minute.

Their mothers were heartened that the Swiss diplomats were allowed a 40-minute visit. They were told their children have been allowed to receive letters from family and friends, and were given access to books from the prison`s library, the diplomats told their families. The three were told of efforts by their families to secure their release and that their mothers applied for visas to try to visit them in prison.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:05
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