Freed hikers recount 2 years of 'lies and false hope'

Heard screams of other inmates

CNN: Safely back on American soil, freed Americans Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer on Sunday recounted their two years in "a world of lies and false hope" behind the walls of an Iranian prison. Wearing green shirts and big smiles, Bauer and Fattal landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport four days after their release by Iranian authorities. In a news conference following their arrival, they described long days held in isolation, the hours punctuated by the screams of other inmates, and their "total sham" of a trial >>>


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Esfand Aashena

Abarmard jaan would u prefer waterboarding or solitary torture?

by Esfand Aashena on

Imagine in one of your trips to Iran they take you (yes you the innocent Abarmard jaan-e teflon moslem :-) and throw you in a small dark cell with a smelly toilet and one blanket.  And every so often they open a small door and give you a piece of dried bread, some soggy potatoes and half glass of water.

You'd keep asking what is happening but no one will say anything.  Then once you insist someone comes in the cell kicks you a few times, slaps you around then leaves.

This goes on for months, but you have no concept of time, you have no idea of what will happen to you, what are your family thinking.  How long do you think you'll last?  How do you think you'd feel? Can you imagine it?  That's what actually happened to many after the 2009 elections and how Iran treats their political prisoners.

Would you prefer that or someone tells you, you either tell us the truth or we'll waterboard you?  Would you rather get waterboarded and be done with it (whatever "it" is) or stay indefinately in a dark cell "for ever"?  Also, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who was waterboarded sang like a canary! 

We're also not talking about "those prisons".  We're talking about Guantanamo.  The "other prisons" are pretty much like Evin. 

Everything is sacred



by Abarmard on

There is no such a thing as you say. You do not have such pleasures to give your concerns being in that prison. Perhaps some relax format is available for some, but not all. That case can easily be made with any prison systems.
The lists of prisoners available are estimated lists from various sources. Just like Evin that one can ultimately find estimate of prisoners. You may find a list of People that are in Evin prison but there are no official documents for ALL prisoners that are withheld in those prisons.

In US case they would want to keep some of those information secret because of security concerns. US has not been shy to publicly announce water-boarding as one form of torture to gain access to possible information gathering technique. Red Cross aint nothing, as my neighbor would say.

However, you made your point clear.


Can't wait to make a big money!

by darius on

Bringing up the "hostage" term means possible plan for  taking legal action against IRI. For the next few month or so  , all three  will be busy receiving calls from attornies and law firms .

Soon , we  will be hearing a big  law suit against IRI ,Iranian ancient artifacts and a book  deal that teach us ,how they went to spread the message of peace from moses and Jesus  at bed bug infested hotels , homes ,  of Kurdistan( where  local people and even wild animals avoid to cross.).YOu  will hear it never came to thier minds that area is unsafe and at any moments a bomb may explode.

You possibly hear, how they were tracked and chased by IRI and their agents, va be ghole khodemoon kak to toomone Iraniha oftade bood  ta ina pahashoon ro az hotel biroon bezaran va be onvane gorgan begiraneshoon.

Their story will never  resoante to an  Iranian claiming to cross the Mexican boarder to spread the message of peace from Muhammad and ALLAH( that would be real funny). Their  story will tell you how dumb and savage their captors were. The %%%%%% stupid IRI agent had no place to torture and investigates their prisoners , so these two   can't hear their scream , it was a Halloween Party. 

Then we learn, logic of an Iranian being picked up at the mexican boarder and claiming to be taken as a hostage , when he in fact was bringing a message from Allah and Muhammad  falls into category of Iranian being pathological liars and cowards .

You will be considered as threat, no one ever hear if you are dead or alive, you will be loaded into an airplane with diaper on  and send to the House of Sauds.  The Kind Sheikdom of Omman never pays 1.5 million for you  or send a special chartered government plane to pick you up from house of Sauds or else where.

You also don't  get a chance to have TV interview, book deal, law suit, you are just a F........ liar. 

Congratulation Mr.Siamak Baniameri, you proved your points, Iranians  indeed are liars and cowards. 



iraj khan

So they claimed

by iraj khan on

"We were not spies...we were taken as hostage"

1. Why hostages? Because there is big money to be made in U.S. courts when they claim they were taken as hostages, chi ching!

2. What were they doing in the Iran - Kurdestan area? Isn't there a war going on between Iraqi Kurds and Iranian forces?

3. What happened to the 4th so called 'hiker' who stayed behind inside Iraq? I haven't heard anything about the fourth hiker! Has anybody?


Shame on Islamic Republic

by Arthimis on

Shame on Islamic Republic and all those who support and sympathize with this evil entity!!! Especially those who sit behind their lap tops in the Free World , sipping on their Starbucks coffee enjoying their FREEDOM!!! Have you no shame??? Making fun of these innocent American kids in I.R. prison??? Didn't you hear??? At least they are human enough to talk about other Iranian prisoners, instead of themselves only!!! At least they have the heart, conscience and honour to stand with thousands of our own innocent Iranian citizens in Prison tortured on a daily basis!!! What would you do if you were held prisoner like that??? I bet you would cry like a bunch of cry babies you already are, telling the world how you were wronged!!! You know what, You don't deserve Freedom!!! I'm so pissed off with this shameful Iranian mentality, sitting outside in a safe place just making fun of people!!! Bunch of cowards, The whole world is laughing at you, no wonder Iran is occupied by bunch of terrorists!!!


Esfand Aashena

Yes I would prefer Guantanamo to Evin, and Camp Ashraf!

by Esfand Aashena on

When "choosing" prisons one has to decide which offers the better option to access to the outside world.  If I'm caught in Evin no one may ever hear about me or even if they hear no one would care!

But in Guantanamo the whole world will know!  The complete list of the Guantanamo prisoners are online.  Can you say the same about the Iranian political prisoners?

I would be able to freely tell my ordeal to the visitors from Red Cross and hope they'll carry my message which they have done in the past which resulted in many releases.  

As far as reading any prior writings from these 3, I have not because they were just starting their careers.  They had no mortgage, no children and their parents were probably sick worrying about them but they were just starting.  I hope to read their new material soon and also FYI they were (and presumably still are) against the US policies in Iran, just like yourself! 

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

by Abarmard on

You will get most of your wish but I wouldn't raise too much of my expectations. Have you read any of their work before?

VPK said it best. They could have been shot and case closed. They are safe and were not tortured. I don't know what you people expect. Reallly. Where have you been?

Esfand, I would rather be in Evin that Guantanamo, even as you say red cross goes there. From the sound of your comment I assume you think opposite and prefer guantanamo. I am not here to say which is more heavenly, but I can make an educated guess what would happen to these two if in Guantanamo. Let's just say walking would be very painful and that's if there were no torture involved. Just pure love.

anyways, I think we beat this thing to death already. Thanks for fun arguments.

Esfand Aashena

Here book your tours to Kurdistan!

by Esfand Aashena on

If you're up to it and have $5,000 - $7,000 you can go on a tour to Kurdistan!  Bail money not included!


Everything is sacred


That is right after the sky diving into an active volcano.

by Abarmard on


Esfand Aashena

Abarmard jaan were they stupid to live in Syria or hike in Iraq?

by Esfand Aashena on

You see the Guantanamo prisoners have been given access to Red Cross and in the end some were released and no one paid to get them released.

As you know you can "legally" pay your way out of any crime, up to and including capital murder.  What other country in the world, at least the countries Iran like to compare itself to like US, EU or others, do you know that allows ciminals to pay their way out "legally"?

In US where Israel has veto on almost anything, at least what many including yourself would claim, they have not been able to get their Israeli spy released for decades!  Israelis offered PEACE in the Palestinians territories in exchange for his release and US administrations denyed their requests!

So if you want to alledge or think that they were spies, you'll have to provide some common sense logic that would suggeset they COULD be spies!

FYI freelance journalists are independent contractors who write stories, with video or photos, and new organizations pay them for their work.  Many of the expose stories are about US policies in the Middle East or crimes that end up in TV news magazines. You like those reports but not if there were written by these 3?

 News organizations have journalists on their payroll and sometimes pay self employed journalists to work for them.  You don't think News organizations deny paying their employees, or journalists don't make any money for their trade, do you?!

Anyway, I support these 3 and wish them all the luck and hope to see them moderating news in CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and other places very soon.  I hope they end up questioning Ahmadi as a TV reporter in his next UN visit and let him have it!  I hope they team up with Roxana Saberi, another "spy", and start a talk show!   

Everything is sacred

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

I heard their next hike is between South and North Korea.

That is right after the sky diving into an active volcano.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Popular vacations spot!

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Faramarz jan I never knew about this was a popular vacation spot. I did a bit of research. Places I found include: Bahamas; Disney Resorts; Club Med; Southern France; Greece;  for ME Dubai but somehow not one of them mentions border of Iraq and Iran! Sorry it just does not make the list :-) People who are reading IC are not stupid. No one believes that area is an "popular vacation" spot. Are you joking? You do have a good sense of humor so I pass it on to that.

Fair: I have often agreed with you but these ***holes were not innocent. At the minimum they violated borders and were definitely guilty of that. What do you think East Germany would have done with them. How about today's Russia or China. I have a hint: it goes "bang". Abarmard is right. None of you would even question this if it were not IRI. Just because it is IRI then Iran nation has no rights to its border. No right to ask for visa. 

It is not like Iran kidnapped them from another nation. They came in on their own accord. I say as do most Americas  on CNN to heck with them. Why should we be worried about them? You are letting your hate get in your way of being fair.


I hope to GOD that they are spies

by ali_aaa on

Otherwise they make very stupid hikers.

I heard their next hike is between South and North Korea.



by Abarmard on

Spies or idiots, either case they are freed now. My original post was if they are idiots or spies then I am not going to bother listening to their comments. Spies or idiots, they are going to give misinformation.

Some want to say here that if they are stupid and idiots (as oppose to spies, because it's either or), they don't deserve being punished. In a case of mental retardation I agree. They are adults and walked into their position willingly.

If they suffered water-boarding, as Mr. Cheney would approve, I then would be on the front line to say it's wrong. Not getting letters, even though not a right thing to do still is far from what would have happened to three suspicious Iranians roaming by US boarder!

I want to ask anyone here that thinks these guys are outdoor type of people. Be honest. They choose to stay in Syria...right begore uprising, go to border of Iran and Iraq to "hike". and I am supposed to say, oh yeah, I would do the same darn thing. What's wrong with what they did? AND there is a waterfall right in that area!!!


The only thing

by Cost-of-Progress on

these guys are guilty of is stupidity.





Absolutely ridiculous

by Fair on

I find it absolutely RIDICULOUS that 3 innocent people were held and imprisoned by any regime, and then released for money without a shred of evidence of any wrongdoing.

What I find even more ridiculous is that some people have the gall to say they were at least idiots if not spies, and therefore it was a small price to pay.  Whoever spews such nonsense also has the burden of proving what was their wrongdoing and crime.  Where is there any evidence at all against these people.  And the usual crap justification that "it happens in other countries so why not ours" does not fly.  I condemn such barbarism no matter where it happens, and I don't justify it based on the mere existence of similar barbarism elsewhere.

Even Arabs in Guantanamo have clear circumstances under which they were detained.  We have yet to see even one shred of evidence that these people even entered Iran, let alone did anything wrong.

I am ashamed of the pathetic regime which imprisons these innocent people and thousands more of our own innocent people, and I am even more ashamed of people who justify it and blame the victim.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Did anyone bother to read the comments on CNN? Those are put mostly by Americans. I read them but did not post. They go 9 to 1 against the "hikers". Most people agree they were stupid not spies as I do.

I guess most Americans are IRI apologists by standards of this blog. In fact many on CNN wished America would send them back to Iran. Others suggested they go hiking in the DMZ in between North and South Korea :-) 

But I agree they were not spies. Just spoiled brats. If they were spies then they make "Maxwell Smart" look good. You remember "be sefr yek?" aka "Get Smart". Now here is a question: if they were journalists why not get a visa. Why not inform Iranian authorities they will be at the border. I agree with the CNN posters: they were and are idiots not worth the news. Next stop will be sky diving into an active volcano.


حرف مرد یکیست و مرغ هم یک پا داره!


This discussion about hikers vs. spies, hostages vs. prisoners, ransom vs. bail, day vs. night has ventured out of logic, common sense and reason and has got into the realm of emotions, ideology and dogma.

In addition to what Esfand has laid out here and what I have been putting forward, these 3 hikers were in a popular vacation spot (Ahmed Awa Waterfall) in Iraqi Kurdestan, less than 2 miles from Iranian border. This is not a PJAK war zone and these hikers were initially apprehended by unarmed border guards and were almost released. But when the word got to the higher-ups in Tehran, then all of a sudden the picture changed and the hikers became spies and were sent to Evin and the rest of the story.

I hope that these hikers continue to speak about what they saw and heard at Evin and bring the world attention to the crimes of this Regime.


Esfand Aashena

by Abarmard on

They did not pay a large price for their stupidity. Freelance journalists don’t mean anything. I can be one too, what does that mean? That region has been targeted many times because of some groups in hiding that have taken arms. I can’t be certain if they were looking to establish some sort of contact. It certainly makes more sense to me than them coming specifically to that spot, for hiking. Plus as you have mentioned, they lived in Syria, most probably spying and knew about the sensitivity of the region. They didn’t walk into this unaware and just being “adventurous”! I don’t buy it.

Regardless it is sensitive area from many angles. The same crime in US would have been much heavier price. Look what they say: ”Whether we have entered Iran illegally or not, WE WILL NEVER KNOW.” 
Look, if it was you caught in area that you should not be roaming, in US, say good bye to your freedom for life. That's my point. Innocent or not, something doesn't add up and regardless they were freed. Their greatest concern wasn't water-boarding but letters from families.

Give me a break. Anyone here would have acted differently if the news was based in any other country but Iran. That's none sense. Mistake? it's done. I rather be them than Arabs in Guantanamo. What do you think they would experience if they were caught in China? Or any South American countries. I know prison systems in many countries are not something you wish to experience. Only based on that idea I say they should take what's given to them and be thankful.

Idiots or spys? regardless they got out safe and I believe it is decent price for what could be considered as larger crime.

hamsade ghadimi

esfand, i think the

by hamsade ghadimi on

esfand, i think the apologists for iri have to tow the line and say what they are paid to say.  you won't get them to engage in an open, honest and critical manner.  if iri had any evidence that these three were spies, they would have presented it.  end of story.

the ironic part is that these accidental tourists ended up gathering more information, by residing in evin, than they set out on their hike.  also, that none of these apologists want to engage in a conversation about the screams the hikers heard in evin.

Esfand Aashena

Abarnard jaan they were Freelance Journalists.

by Esfand Aashena on

If you read the article and tons of prior articles, Shane and Sarah were LIVING in Damascus, Syria.  LIVING in Syria.  Josh Fattal who is fluent in Arabic joined them and the 3 of them set off to Iraq as Freelance Journalists to write reports and sell them to news organizations using Josh as translator.

So they set off to Iraq to write some stories.  The "hiking" part is about them carrying a bag pack with them like our very own JJJ.  Now would you consider JJJ a hiker?!  I don't think so!  But seriously they were hikers who wanted to write some stories about Kurdistan which you must be able to hike to get up there.

Bottom line, had they plans to enter Iran, legally or illegaly, they would not have been able to "spy" on anything worth of value because their foreign nationality would not get them far. 

They got stories they wanted alright.  They just paid a big price for it, very big price.  But they're no longer Freelance Journalists and will now ask for big price salaries which they deserve.  They took a big risk and it's now time for them to reap the benefits.  It does make sense, just not for you or me who are not freelance Journalists or adventurous hikers.  The most adventure you've had was to stay in a 5 star hotel in Kuala Lumpor! 

Everything is sacred


If things don't make much sense

by Abarmard on

It's probably more to it.

I am not convinced about their role and plans. Whether they are innocent stupid, ignorant, idiotic hikers who chose Iraq-Iran/Kurdistan region to "hike" is not clarified.

They do look naive but not too stupid. I just am not comfortable to agree that they were nothing but hikers. If that, they are one of the dumbest and stupidest people on this earth, which in either case takes away from their aftermath speeches. If they had agenda, I don't care to hear them, and if they didn't, I doubt their stupidity gives them rights to get a microphone and make comments.

Furthermore, how many countries would allow their prisoners, stupid or not, a visit from their parents (from visa to visit...HELLO)? They complained about not getting letters? If they were in American, Columbian, Turkish, Chinese prisons they would certainly not complain about not "getting letters"!!! 

Summary: Any idiot needs to learn that you don't go hiking in areas that are very sensitive. Hiking in a sensitive areas, regardless of your background but definitely against your advantage if you are foreign born will make you lose your freedom for life in US. Hopefully they learned their lesson. Otherwise CIA has used $1.5 mil from other important plans to release these people. End of story.


Benefit for all.

by comments on

Did they go to climb on remote mountains with no reason?  If yes, I admire their adventurous personality.

If they were adventurous, they got what they wanted.  (a) A strong resume and (b) challenging and significant job offers.  What were their chances to get a suitable job before their land to Iran?  They are lucky that both Iran and USA government help them to be employed.


Sahameddin Ghiassi

Is in the World somebody who listen to us?

by Sahameddin Ghiassi on

The business people make money from the hate and disunity. And most of us are the victims of their business. There is no just anywhere in the world, some people robe and other people are the victims. Even in the USA is the same play?

Protection is destroyed by police forces, the police is useless if you are robbed, they do not do a serious action, and they are against people in the time they are against the government and want to protest? Or if you did not stop enough behind the stop sign. The systems here ignore the unjust and nobody will be responsible, they refer you to other people and at the end you will landed in the first room and with the first person after you have gone to 12 other rooms and spoke with 12 other people . The police even here are not to support the people but the government.  As long as the huge companies producing the bombs and weapons, or the so called illegal drugs and insurance companies and banks, can make money and robe the people, everything is fine.

The law in the whole world is just support the rich and powerful people, not the people who are the victims and do not have a lot of money to spend.  The victims are sort of advertisement objects; for the system to make money or prestige, they use them for their own benefit of different ideologies. In the Middle Eastern countries, the people are killed and the system in the world is quite, why?

They, the rest of the world made business and money with them, and they are OK, and they continue their business and activates with them; only they sell but this time their products more expensive to them. The good example is the Iran and Iraq war, they gave so much weapons to both of them, that none of them could win the war? They did billions of dollars from both side and the victims were the youth or other people who are killed or disabled and both countries have lost the war, the business people won the war?


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Read CNN for

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


what Americans think of these guys. Go to the comment part of it:


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

They were not

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

hostages. You need to research the meaning of hostage. There is a big difference between the hostages and these guys.

The Americans were diplomats and staff on legitimate mission to Iran. They were in Iran with valid permits on "American Soil". For those who don't know an embassy is legally the soil of the nation that the embassy belongs to. Therefore the Americans diplomats were on American soil. The hostage takers invaded it and took them by force. The "right" thing to do in those cases is to close the embassy. Give the staff sufficient time to pack and have them leave.

These guys were not invited; had no visa and violated international borders. I am sick of hearing about their plight. These get more air time on IC than real Political Prisoners: why? Just because they are "Western" and matter more than Iranians.

Esfand Aashena

The reunited engaged couple seemed Xtra blushed!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred

Darius Kadivar

Held Longer than the 444 Days Ordeal of US Hostages in 1979 ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Glad they slammed the IRI upon their arrival ...


Welcome Back Folks !


Karim Sadjadpour on Sultan Qaboos’ 'honest broker' role in ending US hikers Ordeal


Good Lesson to Ahmadinejad and his Sandis Khor Aficianados who thought they could capitalize on this "generous" gesture by the IRI judiciary just before the PREEEEEEZIIIIIIIDEEEEENT MAHBOOB's UN Speech ...


DUCK SOUP: Ahmadinejad & his Sandis Khor Groupies @ UN after Party in NY


Old McDonald Had a Farm ... Eeya Eeya Oh ...



FED UP WITH POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: Ahmadinejad is NOT my Prime Minister !