BERKELEY (KCBS) – A University of California, Berkeley graduate, who was released from an Iranian prison last September, said she won’t go back to stand trial with two fellow hikers, who have been charged with spying for the United States.
Sarah Shourd said that she is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and won’t be at the trial for her fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal, who remain in a Tehran prison.
“As much as a part of me would like to go and stand by Shane and Josh and defend our innocence in court, I’m afraid the experience would be far too traumatic for me after what I’ve already been through,” Shourd said.
The three have claimed that they were on a hiking trip when they were arrested by Iranian soldiers in July of 2009 for crossing into Iran. U.S. authorities have repeatedly called for their release and denied that the hikers were involved in any type of espionage.
The second session of Bauer and Fattal’s trial is scheduled for May 11. In the first trial session, they both pleaded innocent, saying they did not realize they had crossed the Iranian border.
“Shane and Josh deserve a fair trial. The charge of espionage is completely baseless,” said Shourd. “If we were anywhere near a border, it was unmarked and we didn’t have any idea that we were near Iran.”
Shourd said she has not established a permanent residence since returning to the U.S. She grew up in Los Angeles and her mother lives in Oakland. All three hikers graduated from UC Berkeley.
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