prisonThree American hikers were arrested in Iran this past summer for spying after they accidentally crossed the border into Iraq. The men have been held in custody since late July.

The arrest of the hikers has solicited and immediate response from Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton who stated “We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever. And we would renew our request on behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian government exercise compassion and release them so they can return home.”

The news of the three American detainees has increased the tension between the U.S. and Iran who have severed diplomatic ties, since the 1979 takeover of its embassy in Tehran.

The three captives are all graduates from the University of California Berkley. They had begun their hike in the hopes of reaching Ahmed Awa, a resort area of caves and waterfalls on the border. A statement on a Web site set up for the hikers, freethehikers.org, makes a plea for their release: “We hope the Iranian authorities understand that if our children and friends did happen to enter Iran, there can only be one reason: because they made a regrettable mistake and got lost.”

(Via The New York Times)

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