The hikers - Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal - were seized on July 31, 2009, while on a hiking vacation in the Kurdish region of Iraq, which shares a rugged, unmarked border with Iran. They are being held in Tehran's Evin Prison.
In an exclusive interview from New York with VOA's Persian News Network, the mothers of the three hikers said they plan a series of events to call attention to the plight of their children and call on Iranian authorities to release them.
Nora Shourd, the mother of Sarah, told VOA there has been almost no information about the three hikers. "I am very concerned about my daughter in particular," Ms. Shourd said, "I'm concerned about all three, but my daughter's been in solitary confinement for almost a year now."
Laura Fattal, the mother of Josh, said she wanted Iranian authorities to know that the three hikers were innocent. She said, "There is an injustice going on and our kids should come home."
VOA has provided extensive coverage of the plight of the three hikers. VOA's Persian News Network has an estimated weekly audience of nearly 20 percent of Iranians 15 and older, according to a 2010 survey, despite Iranian efforts to jam international broadcast signals into the country.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.
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