NEW YORK (CBS 2) — An American hiker freed after spending over a year in an Iranian jail is now telling her side of the story. Sarah Shourd said she’s no spy, and neither are the two friends she left behind in Tehran.
After 13 months in Iranian custody, American Sarah Shourd arrived in New York City just grateful to be free, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
“But this is not a time to celebrate,” Shourd said. “My disappointment in not sharing this with Shane and Josh was crushing, and I stand before you today only one-third free.”
Shourd was released on $500,000 bail, while her fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal remain detained in Iran. The three had been hiking along the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009 when they were arrested and accused of espionage.
“Shane and Josh do not deserve to be imprisoned one day longer than I have,” Shourd said. “We committed no crime, and we are not spies.”
The mothers of Bauer and Fattal said Shourd’s release was bittersweet, but it gives them hope. Laura Fattal said she struggles with life without her son.
“I want him home for his own life,” she said. “He is going to contribute a great deal to society, and I want him to begin that journey.”
“A mother’s hope is never going to end,” Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey, said. “It’s always going to be strong.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also arrived in New York Sunday for the U.N. General Assembly. He called Shourd’s release a huge humanitarian gesture, one that should receive consideration by the U.S., currently detaining eight Iranians.
“I believe that it would not be misplaced if I ask that the U.S. government should make a humanitarian gesture to release the Iranians who are illegally detained here in the U.S.,” Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad said he would consider releasing Bauer and Fattal after their cases are examined.
“My hope is that learning who we are and how we came to be in this diverse and fascinating region of the world from my lips, it will help clear up any doubt and end Shane and Josh’s detention,” Shourd said.
Shourd, Laura Fattal and Cindy Hickey, who consider themselves a “family of fate,” said they won’t give up until all three Americans are free.
Fattal and Hickey have requested to meet with President Ahmadinejad while he’s in New York, but so far have not received a response.