Freed Hikers, Their Families Thank Senators

WASHINGTON (AP)— Two American hikers held for more than two years in an Iranian prison thanked U.S. senators on Wednesday for their help in pressing for their release.

Joined by family members who never stopped smiling, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Al Franken, D-Minn., to express their gratitude for their work.

Fattal and Bauer later met privately with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“These families were remarkable throughout this whole thing,” Franken said during a meeting at Casey’s office. “They stuck together. They brought an incredible amount of intelligence and creativity. They had to exercise a lot of strength at times.”

The session was marked by laughter about racing off planes and being smothered by a parent’s hugs.

Fattal, an environmental activist from Elkins Park, Pa., said his mother wrote to him about Casey visiting his suburban Philadelphia home.

“I learned of his tireless effort reaching out to foreign embassies and raising our case abroad … and I’m very grateful to Senator Casey for this,” Fattal said.

Bauer, a freelance journalist who grew up in Onamia, Minn., Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested by Iranian soldiers in July 2009 as they were hiking near the Iraq-Iran border. Shourd was released after 14 months; Bauer and Fattal were held in an Iranian prison for more than two years.

Iran accused them of being spies. They three said they were innocent and had gotten lost while hiking.

Fattal and Bauer were freed on bail on Sept. 21.

Franken commented on the remarkable turnaround for Shourd, who has been living in Oakland, Calif., since her release. She is engaged to Bauer.

“Sarah, when we saw you a year ago, you were a different person,” Franken said. “It’s so nice to see you this happy. You were a little stressed. We’re just thrilled.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Mbougie

    Yeah, thanks alot Franken, like we don’t have enough anti-American slobs in this country already! First thing they do is thank Iran and Hugo Chavez for their release, and bash American foreign policy, then, three weeks later, thank the Senators.

    Here is a link to their anti-American rag.

    • Tom

      Blogs are B$ pal…get a life…

  • WhatBS

    When are they going to start paying back the ransom?

  • nope

    From what I read, they should be thanking Sean Penn. The senators had diddly squat to do with it. Puke.

  • US

    They shouldn’t have gone over there during a war with Iraq, now it seems like the news said Iran is now might be starting a terrist plot with The US.

  • s2pid

    Wish i could grab the attention of my rep/senator for being stupid. Instead some good idears may be passed up by them.

  • Steve

    Great work from all involved…and to you UNAMERICAN’S on the right that bash anything thats good and decent because a Dem. did it…see you in 2012…nuff said!

    • St Paul

      I’m totally with you Steve!!!!! Great post!!

    • WhatBS

      You bet you will!!

  • markH

    “Women Talk Of Jihad In Recorded Calls” story has no option to leave comments. Apparently, WCCO is terrified of Muslim backlash from any perceived criticism of Islam. This is why Islam must be confronted and opposed; religious absolutism and the threat of death and violence against those who speak against the faith have even actually frightened local media into preventing their readers from voicing an opinion. This should be a red flag to those who value freedom of speech and the right to live without religious terrorism. Islam is death to freedom-the sooner the ignorant understand this fact the safer we will all be, Peace.

    • Yeah

      Right on! Stop being nice. Tell them to leave in person.

  • Redneck Purist

    Anyone who thinks these legislators actually made a difference is naive. Swanning around in front of the cameras for all to see how much more you care is a big deal for liberals. And you’ll notice the media doesn’t miss the chance to put a D in front of their names in the story. I might have been impressed if the two attention-hound-clowns had volunteered to do their time for them in the Iranian prison. Heck I would have cheered them. It’s funny: Even when liberals foul things up, they still give themselves credit for making a big show of caring.

  • ted

    Dear Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer

    Shut the your flippin mouthes go away and die.

    That is all!

    Signed the General public!

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