Vigil scheduled for tomorrow for 3 hikers held by Iran

Noon event in Berkeley one of several throughout U.S.

Relatives and friends of three American hikers detained in Iran are planning a vigil tomorrow to commemorate the trio's more than 200 days in


Sarah Shourd, 31, Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley, have been held in Iran since July 31.

Though tomorrow will actually mark the hikers' 206th day in Iranian custody, supporters are calling their gathering a "200-Day Vigil" to coincide with similar events planned across the country.

The Bay Area vigil is set to begin at noon at the Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley.

Organizers plan to assemble an outdoor "love altar" to express their support for the hikers, whom Iran's government has accused of spying for the United States.

Relatives and friends maintain the hikers mistakenly crossed an unmarked border into Iran while exploring a wilderness area in neighboring Iraq.

Tomorrow's vigil will involve "friends and family bringing things to create something beautiful to honor our friends," said Jennifer Miller, a friend of the detained hikers. Shourd, Bauer and Fattal loved the outdoors, so tomorrow's vigil and altar will reflect that, Miller said.

The vigil will also provide an opportunity to support the hikers' families, Miller said.

"It's a struggle for them to have not heard anything from their children in over 200 days, and to not know what the next step is," Miller said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged there are no negotiations currently taking place between the United States and Iran. Earlier this month, Clinton called on Iran's government to "unilaterally release our detained citizens."

Supporters of the detained hikers have set up a Web site with an online petition for their release at

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by No Sympathy
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Anyone foolish enough to go hiking in the Middle East and in particular near any of the anti-American countries such as Iran should not expect extraordinary measures from the USA to save them. These countries have their laws, no matter how ridiculous they might be, and have the right to enforce their laws within their borders. If you don't like their laws, don't go near their country. Unfortunately, these young fools probably had their common sense diminished by attending UC Berkeley and think the real world shares the radical ideas that can safely be propagandized behind the safety of the walls of academia.

Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:10 am

A vigil for idealistic Berkeley liberal buffoons? I thought about it and decided that my gutters need a good cleaning instead.

Like this comment
Posted by Annonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

Anyone who believes these people were simply "hiking" are idiots. Three journalist just happen to take a hike into the heart of the Axis of Evil, yeah right.
I feel for anyone thats held captive, but they made a conscience choice to enter an unfriendly country. They reep what they sow. Good luck kids...

Like this comment
Posted by Tony
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Young people who choose to channel their natural curiosity about the world into discovering its less trodden places are deserving of our support. How refreshing that we outside the USA can look forward to meeting a new generation of Americans who do not cry foul when English is not spoken, or their eggs and bacon do not arrive on time.

The previous commenters might take a leaf out of the hikers' book... or consult a good dictionary.

Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:24 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Tony, thanks for putting your naivete on display for all to see. Good luck when your kids decide to go to China and break their border laws. For them, their will be no new generation, since they will live out the remainder of their lives in a cell for their foolish flaunting of other country's laws.

Like this comment
Posted by D. E. Newhouse
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Iran has never published the GPS coordinates where the Hikers were snatched by its border patrol agents.

I wonder why?

Perhaps because the Hikers were actually in the Western Drainage area of the region, traditionally within Iraq-Kurdistan.

While the borders can be and often are disputed, this dispute is centuries old.

Regrettably, Sarah, Shane, and Josh have inadvertently become pawns in this border dispute.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I do not plan to show up for the VIRGIL!

not my cup of tea...

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

stevaP...look whose calling the kettle black...a jacka_s!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Talking sports and life with Tommy Dyer
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 1,430 views