Freed Belgians 'Deeply Concerned' About Hikers
Americans in solitary in Iran for 6 months under extreme pressure
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2010 11:34 AM CST
Supporters of three hikers held in Iran, protest in front of Sproul Hall at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Two Belgians who’ve just been freed from Iranian prison say they’re “deeply concerned” about the “well-being” of three American hikers being held there, who will have logged 6 months next week without any contact with their families or lawyers. “Iran, please free the hikers,” the Belgians said in a statement released yesterday. The pair, who were arrested on suspicion of espionage while vacationing in Iran, say they met the Americans—Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal—briefly while in Evin Prison.

They say that when they were released, the Americans were being held in solitary confinement, as they had been. "The psychological stresses of detention were very great, especially during interrogation and solitary confinement," they wrote, adding that "we can only imagine that the pressure they are under to confess to crimes they are innocent of is extremely intense." They appealed to the Iranian authorities "to act in a humanitarian fashion and not politicize their case. Our hearts go out to them and their families.”