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American hikers imprisoned for months in Iran to marry in May

November 14, 2011 |  1:14 pm

A pair of American hikers who got engaged while being imprisoned in Iran on spying charges are planning a May wedding in the Bay Area.

The mother of Shane Bauer told the Associated Press that her son will marry Sarah Shourd on May 5.

Bauer, Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested in summer 2009 while backpacking along the Iran-Iraq border and were accused of espionage. They denied the charge, saying they mistakenly wandered into Iran from the rugged Kurdish region of Iraq.

Shourd was the first of the three UC Berkeley graduates to be released, after 14 months of confinement.

Bauer and Fattal spent more than two years in captivity before they were freed in September.

Before they were arrested Shourd and Bauer had spent a year together in Damascus, Syria, where she taught English to refugees and he worked as a photojournalist.

The ill-fated hiking trip occurred when Fattal visited the couple and they decided to explore the Iraq's Kurdish region, which had a reputation as a relatively peaceful tourist destination. The Iranian government said they hiked into Iran.

"We may have hiked a little bit too far that day, but we had no intention of being anywhere near Iran," Shourd said after her release. "This whole thing has been a huge misunderstanding."

Shourd and Bauer have been visiting his family in Minnesota for the last two weeks, the AP reported.


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Photo: Shane Bauer, center, and Josh Fattal are joined by Sarah Shourd at a news conference in New York in September after Bauer and Fattal were released by Iran. Credit: Peter Foley / EPA