Freed hiker, Iran leader meet
She pleads with Ahmadinejad for the release of two others still imprisoned.
new york — Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans arrested last year while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border, met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday to plead for the release of her still-imprisoned fiance and their friend.
Family spokeswoman Samantha Topping confirmed the meeting with Ahmadinejad, who was in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Topping declined to say what was discussed.
“I’m just going to keep pushing every minute for their release on humanitarian grounds,” Shourd told ABC News outside a hotel after she and her mother, Nora, met with the Iranian president.
Shourd, 32, called the encounter “a very gracious gesture and a good meeting,” and said Ahmadinejad seemed friendly and that it was “a very human encounter, very personal.”
Shourd came to New York to advocate for the release of her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal, who have been imprisoned in Tehran for 14 months. Shourd was released Sept. 14.
Ahmadinejad said that he hoped Bauer and Fattal would be able to provide evidence that “they had no ill intention in crossing the border” so that they can be released.
Iran has issued espionage-related indictments against the three, which could bring trials for the two men and proceedings in absentia for Shourd, although she says she hasn’t ruled out returning to face trial.
She wants the world to see Bauer and Fattal.
“The only thing that gives my freedom meaning is that I have this work to do, because honestly, if I felt like there was nothing to do out here, if I wasn’t needed in so many ways, I would have rather stayed with them,” she said.