The mothers of three American hikers imprisoned in Iran for 10 months are worried they will return from Tehran without their children.
The women have been granted visas and are planning to leave Tuesday for Iran from New York to visit their children, who have been held there since July when they were arrested along the Iraqi border. Nora Shourd, Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal said they will also appeal to Iranian leaders to release their children from prison.
The families say that Sarah Shourd, 31; her boyfriend, Shane Bauer, 27; and their friend Josh Fattal, 27, were hiking in the scenic Kurdistan region of northern Iraq and, if they crossed the border, it was by accident. Iran has accused the trio of spying, but has not brought them to trial or publicly charged them with a crime.
"We are overjoyed that we will soon be able to hug our children, but our joy is naturally clouded by the fear of returning home without Shane, Sarah and Josh," the mothers said in a statement Monday. "That is more than any mother anywhere in the world should have to bear and we would be absolutely devastated."
Nora Shourd says she worries especially about the effect that near-solitary confinement may be having on her always social daughter. With no one to talk to, Sarah had become seriously depressed, Nora Shourd says she was told by the Swiss diplomats who visited the trio last month. The diplomats also reported that Sarah was suffering a serious gynecological condition, while Bauer had a stomach ailment.
The mothers said their children have not been allowed access to their Iranian lawyer and have spoken to relatives only once by telephone, on March 9 for just a few minutes.
Hickey lives in Pine City, Minn., Shourd is from Oakland, Calif., and Fattal is from suburban Philadelphia.
Sitting with the other two mothers at a hotel room in New York on Monday, Fattal recounted what she calls "such a good daydream." She pictures standing all of them in a group hug with their kids, and then being able to bring them home.
This program aired on May 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.