Wednesday, July 18, 2018

American Hiker Shourd Now Free

Credit: Sultan Al- Hani
Shourd, in the middle, and her 2 companions.

After the imprisonment of more than a year in Iran, the American hiker Sarah Shourd is now released.

Sarah Shourd and her two companions were formally accused of espionage and trespassing into the republic of Iran. Her two friends were detained for two months as revealed their defense attorney, Masoud Shafii told the BBC on telephone. Besides, this attorney added that all his clients pleaded not guilty and did not accept the charges.

Finally Shourd is able to return to her home country, the United States. The young woman was taken into custody together with two other American citizens in June 2009. This arrest was done by the Iranian police. The reason that was advanced by the police units was that these hikers trespassed the Iranian boundaries while they were supposed to hike in the Iraqi mountains. It is only from last week that the Iranian government settled on liberating the woman. However, Shourd had recently developed both a lump in her breast and precancerous cervical cells. The Iranian leadership insisted that Shourd’s release will only be effective provided that a payment of a US $500,000 bail is agreed. Despite the negative incentive that might arise from accepting the deal proposed by the Iranian government, the idea of paying the bail was the final and accurate decision. Well, the truth is that getting a citizen back from a country that is holding her prisoner is a pride. But this has been admissible particularly due to the fact that Shourd, the captive was in tremendously poor health and ran the danger of becoming untreatable. The truth is that this may generate a kind of worry. The concern here is that paying this bail may lead to a slippery slope. In fact, the Iranian government may be asking more and more money in swap for the release of any other hostages accused of all categories of transgression. This possibility might indeed become reality, but in the present circumstance it is worth allowing a seriously ill American citizen back to her home country. The same chances will not occur every time. Therefore, people should learn that in the future, steps can be taken in order to make a situation like the present one less likely to happen, and thus responding to the bail request in this instant is not necessarily a step toward perpetual payments to Iran.

We are pleased Shourd is returning to home. However, we should not forget that if the hikers were near the Iranian border, they behaved extremely irresponsibly as they completely disregarded the travel warning issued by the American Bureau of Consular Affairs. Following this Bureau, Americans are not fully allowed to freely travel within Iraq. And in this case, if these hikers had been more vigilant about their vacation destination, they would have escaped such regrettable situation to cause them such trouble.

Let’s remind that in case Shourd and her companions had not gone beyond the Iranian border, it was within the plan of the Iranian government to arrest them. On the other hand, the legitimacy of the hikers’ arrest does not explain the fact that the prisoners were detained for more than a year in Iran without a trial. The slow procedure of the Iranian judiciary system was wrong and should be condemned in this way. Then again, the judgment of unidentified foreigners who crossed the Iranian border was legal, according to the laws of the country. In the future, it is better that any travelers be more careful.

In addition, I should strongly argue that also governments have a unique and uniquely strong responsibility to advocate for their citizens when they are in danger overseas, or something like that.

In a nutshell, the case of Shourd has given a lesson to anyone who is willing to travel in such countries. Indeed, paying the bail for the hiker, like Shourd leaves a very knotty concern on the table. This, because we wonder about the future of the other two hikers who are still held captive there. But Shourd’s liberation might ease the release process of her companions. In the meantime, Shourd will be able to come back to America, where she will receive all the treatments that she needs. In my understanding no matter the amount of money one can pay, provided life is saved. Life is not comparable to money because if a person is alive, they can get money but money can never give them a person.


About the Writer

MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on American Hiker Shourd Now Free

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By Barkha Dhar on September 25, 2010 at 06:48 pm

That's seems like a strong argument. And I agree money cant buy happiness. It may buy temporal pleasures but it cant buy satisfaction that lies being with one's family at home, given the dire circumstances that shroud is facing. Thank you Mughisho for your voice. As always you are an inspiration at Broo.

Barkha Dhar

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on September 30, 2010 at 02:14 am

Dhar, thank you as well and we are together.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on September 30, 2010 at 02:17 am

Melody, I am not quite sure she will refund the money. All depends on how the government's decision. May be we would wonder if the government intends to pay ransom for Shourd's friends release as they remained in jail.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on August 25, 2011 at 02:46 am

Shourd had been lucky to be released. Today, her two friends hikers have been tried and a sentence of 8 years in Iranian jail was given to them. If shourd was with her two companions hiking, why was she released but the two detained? America would do what it did for obtaining the release of Sourd for her colleagues.

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