Hostage Taking For Fun And Profit

CNN is announcing that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two hikers who have been jailed in Iran since July 31, 2009, when they mistakenly crossed into the country from Iraq when they were hiking, will be released from prison after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them.

The article reports:

Last month, Fattal and Bauer were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison — five years for espionage and three years for illegal entry, according to Iranian media. Their attorney appealed the sentence. That appeal is still pending.

The article quotes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad:

“They illegally crossed our borders and they were arrested by the border guards,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC in an interview that aired Tuesday. “We tried last year to free one of the three persons and we are also trying to make arrangements for the freedom of the other two. I think these two persons will be freed in a couple of days.”

He said Fattal and Bauer are enjoying “very good conditions here in prison … it’s like staying in a hotel.”

I don’t mean to by cynical here, but I doubt very much that being in an Iranian prison is like staying in a hotel. I wonder if we could find a hotel like that for President Ahmadinejad when he comes to visit America.

At any rate, hopefully the two men will be home shortly. We need to remember the type of government we are dealing with when we deal with Iran. This was a very easy way for them to raise money and take money out of the American economy. Because we did not react strongly, we can expect them to do more of the same.

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American Hikers Detained In Iran Sentenced To Eight Years in Prison

On Saturday, CNN reported that American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison.

CNN details the sentence:

…five years for espionage — specifically “cooperating with the American intelligence service” — and three years for illegal entry, IRINN reported, quoting an “informed” judiciary source.

The third hiker, Sarah Shroud, was released on $500,000 bail in September 2010.

CBN News reports:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she is “deeply disappointed” with the sentence.

CBN also reported that the families of the hikers had hoped that the hikers would be released during the Islamic month of Ramadan, when pardons are often granted.

This must be heartbreaking for their families. The Iranian government has also stated that the case of Sarah Shroud is still considered open. Essentially a ransom was paid for her release. This situation illustrates the dangers of weak leadership in America. When the staff of the American Embassy was taken prisoner in Iran in 1979, the newspapers in America reminded us every day that there were hostages in Iran. Where are those newspaper articles now? These are Iranian hostages and America needs to be saying more than that they are ‘deeply disappointed.’  We need leadership in this country that will be strong enough to discourage foreign countries from kidnapping Americans who inadvertently cross an unmarked border.

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