American Hikers Freed by Iran Returning to US

Posted September 25th, 2011 at 1:26 pm (UTC-5)
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Two American hikers released by Iran this past week have returned to the United States Sunday, after spending more than two years in an Iranian prison on spy charges.

Officials say a plane carrying hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer landed at New York's John F. Kennedy airport at around 11:00 AM local time .

Iranian authorities released Fattal and Bauer Wednesday on a $1 million bail payment. They initially traveled to Oman, which played a role in their release and where they spent three days with relatives. Also there was Sarah Shourd, their fellow hiker who was freed on $500,000 bail last year and returned to the United States.

Before leaving for the U.S., Fattal thanked Oman for welcoming him and Bauer and for hosting their families. Bauer said that getting off the plane that brought them to Oman was the most incredible experience of their lives.

Iranian authorities detained Fattal, Bauer and Shourd on July 31, 2009, along the Iran-Iraq border and charged them with illegally crossing into the country, later adding charges of spying.

The trio proclaims they are innocent and say they were hiking in the mountains of northern Iraq while on vacation. They say that if they crossed the unmarked border into Iran, it was by mistake.