Monday, February 8, 2010

'Free the Hikers' movement gaining steam on YouTube

In late January, we wrote about the online petition started by the siblings of the three American tourists who've been detained in an Iranian prison for the last six months. Alex Fattal, whose brother Josh is one of the three hikers who accidentally crossed over the Iranian border from Iraqi Kurdistan only to be arrested by Iranian police (according to news reports), started an online video petition to put pressure on the Iranian government to free the hikers. Over three dozen videos have come in from across the world, forming a digital narrative that Alex hopes will bring more attention to his case. Even nobel-prize winner Desmond Tutu has gotten involved.

The Iranian government spoke out last week on the case, suggesting a prisoner swap for 11 Iranians being held by the U.S., including a nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia. The Washington Examiner details the exchange here. Not surprisingly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected the offer saying there is no equivalence in the cases that would warrant such an exchange. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suggested the three hikers knowingly trespassed onto Iranian soil, something that correspondence with the three hikers at the time of their visit seems to refute.

Alex and his Free the Hikers group continue to collect videos in their petition as the 200-day mark draws near. You can submit yours as a reply to their call-out video below, and you can learn more at If you're not up for making a video, the group has put together this video with suggestions for the "10 things you can do to free the hikers in 2010."


Anonymous said...

actions have consequences. iraq is not a place to go hiking; along iraq.iran border even less so. these strike me as self centered journalists looking for an adventure story, too independent to be guided by state dept travel warning but now wanting the attention of same.

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