The long, hard Iranian road for imprisoned freelance journalist Shane Bauer (pictured) and his UC Berkeley pal Josh Fattal crosses two major milestones this week. Monday marked 18 months of captivity for the pair and this Sunday, February 6th, Bauer and Fattal will be tried for the preposterous accusation of spying.
To keep their story front and center in the media and beyond, families and supporters have been marshaling statements of support from people like Sean Penn, holding fundraisers and arranging for people who know Bauer and Fattal to “testify” their words of support online. A recent such message comes from Bauer friend and colleague Shon Meckfessel:
One can, and should, feel sorry for Shane the Hiker, but an almost awed admiration, joined perhaps with outrage, steps forward instead for Shane the Journalist (author of more than 50 articles from “on the ground” in the Middle East, east Africa, and the U.S., for outlets as diverse as Al Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor, Slate, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Nation), Shane the filmmaker, Shane the multiple-award-winning photojournalist…
I can only testify to the wrenching irony that Shane of all people, and Josh just as much, the most free and most just people I have ever met in my life, have so long been kept unfree and prevented from living out their lives, as they always have, for love and for justice.
Iranian authorities plan to prosecute third hiker Sarah Shourd, released last fall, in absentia and are threatening to revoke her $500,000 bail. It’s likely some sort of ridiculous sentence will be handed down at the trial to anchor future Iranian bargaining.