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Friday
Jul292011

Iran Hiker Sarah Shourd Hopes Fiance Is Released on Arrest Anniversary

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- During Sarah Shourd's days in an Iranian prison, she would look forward to the rare moments when she could meet with her fiance and fellow captive Shane Bauer and imagine their wedding together.

"It was sort of a fun topic to lift our spirits, what my dress would look like, what food we would serve," Shourd told ABC News.  "The wedding was our symbol of the day that this would finally be over.  I think of our wedding frequently as the day that I know it will really, really be over."

That wedding is still on hold as Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal remain in Iran's notorious Evin Prison.  This Sunday will mark the second anniversary of their arrest while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border.  The date also comes with the hope that Iran will finally keep its word and keep the July 31 trial date set by Iran's Revolutionary Court.

"The public prosecutor made a statement about the trial and he said that a final decision will be made on this date," Shourd said.  "We've never heard something like this from the public prosecutor before, so we have very high hopes.  This gives us hope that the trial will be the end of this nightmare."

The court date is the second anniversary of their arrest when the three were hiking on their way to a local tourist spot, the Ahmed Awa waterfall.  It is a day that is filled now with "what ifs" for Shourd.

"I've replayed those moments obsessively," said Shourd.  "When your life is struck by a wrecking ball, you go back and think what if I woke up later?  And what if it got hot, we turned around sooner?  What if I didn't look up at the ridge?  All the what ifs are endless and they torture you."

The trio had taken a break from their trek through Iraq's mountainous Kurdish area and were resting.

"Half way through our hike we took a break and had some lunch and had a nap," she recalled.  "I clearly remember that we were deciding whether to keep going or to turn around.  We were having a discussion about it and I remember I looked up on the ridge and saw a soldier standing there, but I didn't think anything of it.  I assumed he was a Kurdish police.

"He was gesturing over his head to come forward towards him," Shourd continued.  "We see this soldier gesturing towards us to walk up to him and that meant walking away from the waterfall area.  When we got to him he pointed to the ground.  He said Iran and then pointed to the trail we were on and said Iraq."

They didn't realize that it would be their last taste of freedom for a very long time.  The soldier turned out to be an Iranian border guard.  They were blindfolded, whisked away, and eventually ended up in Evin prison in Tehran under espionage charges.

Shourd, 32, was released on $500,000 bail on humanitarian grounds after 13 months of detainment, but Bauer and Fattal remain inside the prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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