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Americans Imprisoned in Iran Suffering Health Problems

New America Media , News Report, Mary Ambrose Posted: Apr 27, 2010

The three young Americans, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, being held at Evin prison in Tehran are back in the news, but not news of their release. The discovery that both Shourd and Bauer are unwell has led to headlines in Le Monde, BBC Persia and the Associated Press.

Shourd is suffering a serious gynecological condition and fighting depression. Bauer has a stomach ailment, their mothers told the Associated Press. Even the White House is commenting.

On Friday White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement calling for their release.

"We were deeply alarmed to learn from the families today of their physical and emotional state of health. We fear their well-being will suffer even more unless their case is resolved without delay."

The three mistakenly hiked into Iranian territory last July. Captured by Iranian authorities they were denounced as spies, though no criminal charges have ever been presented in a court of law.

"There is absolutely no justification for their detention, and they should be released without further delay," Gibbs said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for their release before and Friday added her concern for their health in a separate statement. "These three Americans -- innocent tourists in Iraq's Kurdistan region when they were detained... have been unjustly held for almost nine months," Clinton said.

The hikers' parents learned of their childrens ill health from the Swiss ambassador who was allowed to see them on Thursday, his first visit since Oct. 29.

More troubling for the parents is also learning that despite their compromised health, the hikers are thinking of starting a hunger strike to bring attention to their plight. "Our kids need to see us, okay? And, we hope that the Iranians understand that. They need a visit from their mothers," Nora Shourd, Sarahs mother, told KGO television.

Although neither politicians nor the media have forgotten about the three young prisoners and a recent New York Times editorial called for their release, no one knows what it will take to move the Iranian authorities.

To learn more go Free the Hikers, a Web site maintained by their parents.

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