Support shown at Twin Ports Bridge Fest for detained hikers

By KBJR News 1

July 9, 2011 Updated Aug 1, 2011 at 4:46 PM CST

Formerly detained hiker, Sarah Shourd, was at the Twin Ports Bridge Fest today to support 'Free the Hikers', a campaign to bring Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal home. Both are still being held captive in Iran. Shourd says the day was about bringing people together.

"This is a special event for us today because this is all about building bridges between communities, countries and across ideologies," said Shourd, "That's the kind of work that Shane and Josh do, building those bridges. Now they're waiting for a bridge to bring them home."

This month marks two years since Shourd, Bauer and Fattal were arrested after unknowingly crossing the border from Iraq into Iran. Shourd was released in September 2010 but Bauer and Fattal are still in Iran. It's been over two months since Bauer's mother, Cindy Hickey, has spoken to him.

"We're really all in a sort of prison," Hickey said, "Certainly not where Shane and Josh are but we're frozen in time, all of us and we really need our lives to continue."

The family is encouraged by events like the one at the Bridge Fest today, which keep the hikers' detainment in the spotlight.

"When you get support, people around, that always feels good, " Shane's father, Al Bauer, said,"Stopping and talking, getting hugs and stuff, that helps."

Over one thousand people bought tickets for the event, which included a series of concerts and vendor booths.

"For Shane, Josh and I, knowing that we would never be forgotten and that people would stand up for us was really our lifeline, "said Shourd, "that's what kept us going and I know that's what's keeping Shane and Josh going."

Al Bauer, who hasn't spoken to Shane in over a year, is thankful that the families of the detained hikers have had each other for support.

"You're stronger together than you are apart," he said.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are set to have their next trial date July 31st. That's exactly two years after they were first arrested.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin
jaustin@northlandsnewscenter.com

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