Iran Releases Hiker Detained for Over a Year

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The Iranian government has ordered the release of Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers it has detained since they allegedly wandered over the country’s border with Iraq more than a year ago. Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Mother Jones writer Shane Bauer were accused of spying, and Fattal and Bauer are set to be detained for at least another two months. Shourd had to post $500,000 bail to win her release. (It’s unclear who paid the bill—the Shourd family said earlier this week that they couldn’t afford it.) President Barack Obama issued a statement Tuesday on the latest developments:

I am very pleased that Sarah Shourd has been released by the Iranian government, and will soon be united with her family. All Americans join with her courageous mother and family in celebrating her long-awaited return home. We are grateful to the Swiss, the Sultanate of Oman, and other friends and allies around the world who have worked tirelessly and admirably over the past several months to bring about this joyous reunion.

While Sarah has been released, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remain prisoners in Iran who have committed no crime. We remain hopeful that Iran will demonstrate renewed compassion by ensuring the return of Shane, Josh and all the other missing or detained Americans in Iran. We salute the courage and strength of the Shourd, Bauer, and Fattal families, who have endured the unimaginable absence of their loved ones. We have gained strength from their resolve, and will continue do everything we can to secure the release of their loved ones.

And here’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

I welcome Sarah Shourd’s release from detention in Iran, and am pleased that she will soon be reunited with her family. I appreciate the efforts of all those who have worked for her release, in particular the Swiss Protecting Power in Tehran, the Omani Government, and the many other world leaders who have raised this case and the cases of other detained or missing American citizens. Sarah’s fiancé Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and other U.S. citizens remain detained or missing in Iran. We urge Iranian authorities to extend the same consideration to them by resolving their cases without delay and allowing them to immediately return to their families.

It’s great news that Shourd has been freed. Let’s hope that Bauer and Fattal are released as soon as possible. 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest