[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/08/11/iran.detained.americans/art.sarah.shourd.mn.jpg caption="Sarah Shourd, like the other two hikers, is a graduate of University of California-Berkeley."]
Program Note: Family members Nora Shourd, Laura Fattal and Cindy Hickey will be on AC360° TONIGHT 10p ET.
Travelers accidentally strayed across an unmarked border while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The families and friends of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, the three young American hikers detained in Iran on July 31, today launched http://www.freethehikers.org, a web resource to inform the world about their detention.
The families also appealed to Iranian authorities to grant consular access to their children, who were detained when they accidentally strayed into Iran across an unmarked border during a five-day hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“We still know nothing about how our children are and where they are being held. We respectfully urge the Iranian authorities to grant them their right to consular access so we at least can know they are safe and well,” the families said in statement. “If our children had known the border was there, they wouldn’t have crossed it. We continue to hope and believe that the Iranian authorities will realize that our children entered their country by accident and will return them to us.”
Freethehikers.org provides up-to-date news about the hikers’ detention, as well as background materials about the three Americans and their case. The site links to a Facebook group formed for the hikers soon after they were detained. Almost 1,400 friends, relatives and well-wishers have already joined the Facebook group.
Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were detained while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan near the Ahmed Awa waterfall, a popular local tourist spot. The three, all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley and experienced world travelers, were in a peaceful region of northern Iraq that is increasingly popular with Western tourists for its natural beauty, culture and history.
While the Iranian government has confirmed it is holding the three hikers, it has not charged them with a crime and has not allowed them to contact their families. Swiss diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in Iran, have been seeking consular access.
Check out www.freethehikers.org for more information.
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