U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd, 32, was released on Tuesday after spending more than a year in an Iranian jail.
The American woman stated her gratefulness to Iran’s president for granting her freedom as she boarded her flight to the nearby Gulf sultanate of Oman where her mother was awaiting her.
Shourd, her fiancé, Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were arrested and charged with spying as they were visiting the scenic mountain range areas along the Iran-Iraq border. The 32 year-old American was released on compassionate grounds due to her suffering from a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells.
Shourd was released after a bail sum of $500,000 was paid.
The other 2 Americans with her are not going to be released by Iran just yet and their trial is still planned. All 3 will be facing spy-related charges but Shourd will be tried in absentia.
Right before boarding her flight, Shourd told Iran’s English Press TV, “I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people, that have been involved, and especially, particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture.”
Despite her release, the incident has left ties between the U.S. and Iran strained. President Barack Obama welcomed the release but the families of the three Americans had mixed emotions.
In a joint statement to the press, the families of the victims said “All of our families are relieved and overjoyed that Sarah has at last been released but we’re also heartbroken that Shane and Josh are still being denied their freedom for no just cause.”
U.S. president Obama said all Americans are celebrating Shourd’s long-awaited return home.
Image showing Sarah Shourd and fellow hiker and now- fiance, Shane Bauer, courtesy scott