Shane Bauer will remain in Iranian prison [UPDATED]
Minnesota native Shane Bauer will not not be the American hiker released by Iranian authorities on Saturday. Instead, his girlfriend Sarah Shourd will be the one of the three set free.
Shane Bauer has been imprisoned since last July.
The Iranian Culture Ministry says the release is timed to coincide with the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. When it first announced the impending release today, no one was sure who would be released:
"The release of one of the detained Americans will be at Saturday, 9 a.m. (12:30 a.m. EDT) at the Estaghlal hotel."
Later, the AP confirmed that Shourd would go home.
Cindy Hickey, Bauer's mother, lives in Pine City, and has worked with the mothers of the other two prisoners to get the three released. The three visited Iran earlier this year. Today they issued a joint statement:
"We have seen the news reports and are urgently seeking further information. We hope and pray that the reports are true and that this signals the end of all three of our children's long and difficult detention. Shane, Sarah and Josh are all innocent and we continue to call for their immediate release, so that they can return home together and be reunited with our families."
Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested last July when they inadvertently crossed into Iranian territory while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Later they were accused of spying. Bauer is a freelance journalist.