Three American Hikers’ Evin Blues–Depression, Sickness, And Hunger Strike

Apr 26, 20100 comments

Last Thursday, members of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran met with the three young Americans who were arrested last July on Iran’s western borders. The meeting was their third in the past ten months. In their meeting, Swiss diplomats who represent US interests in Iran, had long discussions with the three Americans. A source close to the families of the three hikers told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that what they have described during this meeting is disturbing. During their detention, the three prisoners’ health seems to have deteriorated for different reasons and they seem to be in poor mental form due to depression caused by their indeterminate state. Mothers of the three Americans, Josh Fattal, Sarah Shourd, and Sean Bauer, have tried for Iranian visas over the past few months. Iranian authorities announced on January 6, 2010, that they would grant visas to the families. But since that time, none of the families have been granted a visa. The  source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “Though the Iranian authorities said visas were issued, so far they have used different excuses not to issue the visas. Once they said that the photographs are not done properly, and another time they came up with another excuse. The aging parents of the prisoners are deeply sad and depressed, because they have done their best over the past few months to sound positive in their attempts to establish contact with Iranian government. But they can see that all of that effort has been for naught.” She added: “Hearing that the three of them are considering hunger strikes has shocked the families. They ask themselves what could be happening in prison to cause them to make such a decision? As they have no contact with the outside world and their health seems to have weakened during their months of detention, we really don’t know how to find out whether they are on a hunger strike.” The families of the three American prisoners have issued a statement and have asked the Iranian government to release their children. They have also asked to be allowed to travel to Tehran. The families have said in their statements that Sarah Shourd is kept in a different cell from other prisoners and is allowed to meet with Josh and Sean twice a day. According to their statement, the two men are also kept separate from other prisoners.