Iran releases U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd on bail

September 14th, 2010 - 11:44 pm ICT by BNO News  

TEHRAN (BNO NEWS) — Iran on Tuesday released American hiker Sarah Shourd on bail from a prison in the capital of Tehran, state-run media reported.

Shourd, 32, was arrested in July 2009 along with American citizens Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal who were hiking in Iraq’s Kurdistan region when they crossed into Iran. Tehran accuses the hikers of entering the country illegally and having links to U.S. intelligence, a claim which their families deny.

An official with Iran’s Mission to the United Nations told BNO News late last week that the country would be releasing Shourd from Evin prison “very soon.” There was no official explanation as to why the release was taking place, but officials later unexpectedly canceled the planned release due to ‘unresolved legal issues.’

Later, Iranian officials decided that Shourd could be released on a $500,000 bail on medical concerns. However, the family said it was unable to pay the bail and the U.S. government said it could not pay for prisoner bail.

However, state run media on Tuesday reported that Shourd had been released from Evin prison after the bail had been paid. It was not immediately clear who paid the bail.

President Barack Obama said to be “pleased” after Shourd’s release as Americans will celebrate her “long-awaited return home.”

“We are grateful to the Swiss, the Sultanate of Oman, and other friends and allies around the world who have worked tirelessly and admirably over the past several months to bring about this joyous reunion,” Obama said.

However, the President also recalled that Bauer and Fattal remain prisoners in Iran and claimed they “have committed no crime.”

“We remain hopeful that Iran will demonstrate renewed compassion by ensuring the return of Shane, Josh and all the other missing or detained Americans in Iran. We salute the courage and strength of the Shourd, Bauer, and Fattal families, who have endured the unimaginable absence of their loved ones,” Obama added.

“We have gained strength from their resolve, and will continue do everything we can to secure the release of their loved ones.”

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