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Free the Hikers: Testimony From Family, Friends, and Colleagues

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Today Josh and Shane's trial in Iran began in a court closed to the public. For the last week family, friends, and colleagues have been testifying to Shane and Josh's humanitarian deeds and good records at www.blog.freethehikers.org. Here are some excerpts from those posts.

"I testify that my son, Shane is an extraordinary human being. His assets are not of monetary value but of great human value...To those that hold my son, please understand that Shane's work in the world is important to all, as is his example of humanness. Please show compassion and release him." ~ Cindy Hickey, Mother of Shane Bauer

"I can testify that he was a diligent student and that his questions during and after lectures were always directed to the injustices perpetrated through the global economy, both on American workers and on disenfranchised people abroad." ~ Richard B. Norgaard, Professor of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley

"I can only testify to the wrenching irony that Shane of all people, & Josh just as much, the most free & most just people I have ever met in my life, have so long been kept unfree & prevented from living out their lives, as they always have, for love & for justice" ~ Shon Meckfessel, Friend of Shane Bauer

"I can say without hesitation that my son, Josh Fattal, is a wonderful person innocent of any crime... I have only one wish. It is that Josh is freed immediately so that he can share his great gifts with the whole world." ~ Laura Fattal, Mother of Josh Fattal

"Shane's photographic work eloquently testifies to his commitment to seek out injustices & speak out against them" ~ David Brazil, Friend of Shane Bauer

"Given the opportunity to testify for Josh, I would speak to the inspiring individual I witnessed him grow into over the last ten years." ~ Jennifer Heinlein, Friend of Josh Fattal

"Much of who we are today is because of the positive influence that our older brother, Shane, has had in our lives. Because of Shane, we believe in the innate kindness of everyone; he is the type of person that can point out wonderful things about his biggest critics." ~ Nicole Lindstrom and Shannon Bauer, Sisters of Shane Bauer

"In the time that I have had the privilege of having Josh Fattal as a friend, he has provided me with the daily example that life is about constantly trying to become your best self. It is an honor to testify on the character of this good man. Josh Fattal, I will always stand beside you as my tallest and best self." ~ Molly Nakahara, Friend of Josh Fattal

"One needs only look at what Shane has done in his short career as a photographer & story teller to know he is genuinely a humanist & world citizen" ~ Ken Light, Director Center for Photography, UC Berkeley

"The fruits of Josh's labor and his love for the Willamette Valley are powerful testimony to his uniquely amazing character. His spirit is here and hopefully he will be too, very soon." ~ Alex Fattal, Brother of Josh Fattal

"IHP knows Josh well and supports him fully as a bright, thoughtful, caring individual of integrity." ~ Joan Tiffany, President and Senior Director, International Honors Program

"For four months, in five countries, I witnessed Josh's every kind word and peaceful action. For more than eighteen months I have witnessed the outpouring of kind words and peaceful actions for Josh from people all over the world who know and love him." ~ Farah N. Mawani, Colleague and Friend of Josh Fattal

"I testify that Shane is a very gifted person. I think he has a lot of love left for a lot of people; I would dearly love to see him come home." ~ Al Bauer, Father of Shane Bauer

"Mr. Bauer is a highly talented photo-journalist dedicated to helping Americans gain a clearer picture of the lives and perspectives of ordinary Arabs throughout the region. It is my fervent hope that the government of Iran will release him and his friend Josh Fattal and allow them to return to the United States." ~ Sandy Close, Executive Director, New American Media

"We testify that Josh Fattal is an extraordinary teacher, activist and, above all, friend... He has been in prison 554 days too long. We need more people like Josh, who have a keen ability to bring people together despite cultural and geographic differences... It is time for Josh to be released so he can continue on his journey and better the lives of those around him." ~ Yogeeta Manglani and Samantha Feld, IHP Health and Community Alumni 2009

"His every gesture and word testifies for a greater humanity, for both a return to and a leap into decency and generosity." ~ Tegra Fisk, close friend of Josh Fattal

"[Josh] participated in many different elements of our organization, from curriculum development to teaching, trail building to consensus building, and I can testify that his work and who he is provides inspiration for every Aprovecho student, volunteer, and community member. " ~ Tao Orion, Co-Director, Aprovecho

"I want to beseech Iran's religious and political leaders to set Shane and Josh free so that they can help make a difference. Give them a chance to do the good work in the world that they were destined to do." ~ Sarah Shourd, freed on September 14.