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Mothers of American hikers detained in Iran start hunger strike

Iran Materials 19 May 2011 11:53 (UTC +04:00)
The mothers of two Americans accused of espionage in Iran say they started a hunger strike Thursday amid fears that their sons are in grave danger.
Mothers of American hikers detained in Iran start hunger strike

The mothers of two Americans accused of espionage in Iran say they started a hunger strike Thursday amid fears that their sons are in grave danger, CNN reported.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been imprisoned in Iran for more than 21 months.

A trial for the 28-year-old men was supposed to happen last week, but it was delayed without an explanation after they were not brought to the courthouse.

"We have not had any news about Shane and Josh for many months and we are terrified that they have now gone on (a) hunger strike to protest against this latest, devastating delay," said Cindy Hickey, Bauer's mother.

"We're worried that they are not getting proper medical care and that their lives may be in danger."

Fattal's mother, Laura Fattal, urged Iran to free the two.

"Whoever is to blame for preventing our sons' release is bringing shame on Iran," she said. "Shane and Josh have been denied justice and compassion for far too long. Today we begin a hunger strike and stand with our sons to urge Iran to stop punishing them --and our families -- for no reason."

Shourd will take over the hunger strike Friday, the family said.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested while they were hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area on 31 July 2009. The exact circumstances of their arrest remain unclear, but the Iranian authorities have charged them with espionage and illegal entry.

A third US citizen arrested with the men, Sarah Shourd, was released in September 2010 on $500,000 bail.

Bauer and Fattal have been held at Tehran's Evin Prison since their arrest, and have only been granted one brief encounter with family, when their mothers visited Iran in May 2010. Bauer's family has said he has health problems that require regular monitoring

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