The families of three Americans being held in Iran released video footage Tuesday that they say proves the three were simply on vacation and had no underhand intentions when they strayed across the border.
Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, have been detained since July 31. They apparently crossed into Iran by accident while hiking in a scenic area in northern Iraq.
One of the videos shows Fattal performing an impromptu rap song -- “Yo, it's hot/It's 'cos I'm in Iraq.'' -- against a backdrop of the city of Irbil in Iraq. A second video shows Fattal, Bauer and Shourd dancing in an unfinished cinder block building.
“These kids were on vacation. They were just traveling; they were having a good time,'' Nora Shourd, Shourd's mother said.
Laura Fattal, who lives in Elkins Park, said it was hearing Josh's voice that really affected her.
“It took me aback,” Fattal said. “I said, ‘That's really Josh. And I really haven't heard from him.’ When you hear a voice, that pulls at your heart strings.”
The videos were made two days before the hikers were detained. They were shot by Shon Meckfessel,a fourth American on the trip who did not go hiking with the others because he was feeling ill.
“If ever there was the slightest doubt that we were in Iraqi Kurdistan to relax and have fun, this should surely remove it,” said Meckfessel.
Laura Fattal said she and the other two mothers traveled to the United Nations Iranian mission in New York on Oct. 15 to deliver a petition signed by more than 2,500 people asking that the hikers be released.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said last week that investigators are still questioning the three and that their fate rests with judicial authorities. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that he could ask the judiciary to “take a look at the case with maximum leniency.”