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Video: Iran Hikers’ Press Conference

| September 26, 2011
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Here are two-and-a-half minutes from the press conference in New York City Sunday by Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, the two UC Berkeley graduates who were freed last week by Iran after more than two years in prison there. Transcript below.

In prison we lived in a world of lies and false hope,” said Fattal. “The investigators lied that [the Ambassador from] from the Swiss Embassy in Iran did not want to see us. They told us, again falsely, that we would be given due process and access to our lawyer… Most infuratingly, they even told us that our families stopped writing us letters.

“Releasing us is a good gesture and no positive step should go unnoticed. We applaud the Iranian authroites for finally making the right decision regarding our case. But we want to be clear: They do not deserve undue credit for ending what they had no right and no justification to start in the first place.

And from Shane Bauer:

We do not know if we crossed the border. We will probably never know. But even if we did enter Iran, that has never been the reason why the Iranian authorities kept us in prison for so long. The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran. The irony is that Sarah, Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility.

Sarah, Josh and I have experienced a taste of the Iranian regime’s brutality. We have been held in almost total isolation from the world and everything we love, stripped of our rights and freedom. You may ask us, now that you are free, can you forgive the Iranian government for what it has done to you? Our answer is this: How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience? It is the Iranian people who bear the brunt of this government’s cruelty and disregard for human rights. There are people in Iran who are in prison for years simply for attending a protest, for writing a pro-democracy blog, or for worshiping an unpopular faith. Journalists remain behind bars and innocent people have been executed. If the Iranian government wants to change its image in the world and ease international pressure, it should release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately.

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