Families hold hope for hikers in Iran

September 22, 2009 3:48:27 PM PDT
The brother of one of three American hikers detained in Iran says the family hopes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brings the trio with him when he visits the United Nations. Ahmadinejad is addressing the General Assembly on Wednesday in New York. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Megan Mattson says the department has no indication he'll bring the three with him.

Alex Fattal says he and his mother, of Elkins Park, Pa., are encouraged by a recent interview Ahmadinejad gave to NBC. They haven't received official word from the American or Iranian governments.

Family members say Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were detained after they strayed into Iran while hiking in Iraq in July. They attended the University of California, Berkeley.

Fattal's brother is praying for some encouraging news.

"We just want to hear his voice, we want to hear he's okay, want to know that he's sleeping, that he's eating. Want to know that he's being well treated. Ultimately we want him home as soon as possible," Alex Fattal said.

Josh's family maintains the hiking enthusiasts must have accidentally crossed the unmarked border while seeking a waterfall that's popular among western tourists.

If Josh is not home by end of month, his family plans vigils around the country including one right here in the Philadelphia area.

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On the Net: Hikers' families' Web site

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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