UC Berkeley alumna refuses to appear in court

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Sarah Shourd, a UC Berkeley alumna and one of three hikers who had been arrested in Iran in 2009, has refused to appear in court in the country this month, major media outlets reported today.

According to a statement from the Free the Hikers organization, Shourd said she is suffering from depression
 and
 post‐traumatic
 stress
 disorder brought on by her imprisonment and will not appear for the trial May 11. She received a subpoena last Wednesday, requesting her presence at the trial.

Clinical forensic psychologist Barry Rosenfeld diagnosed Shourd and said in the statement that her symptoms may become worse if she were to return to Iran.

"Given the clear link between her capture and incarceration and the emergence of severe psychological symptoms ... there is little doubt that Ms. Shourd's symptoms would worsen substantially if she were forced to return to Iran and face criminal sanctions," he said in the statement.

Shourd was arrested by Iranian officials in 2009 for alleged spying along with fellow campus alumni Shane Bauer - her fiance - and Josh Fattal. She was released on $500,000 bail last September after discovering a lump in her breast and did not appear for the last trial date in February.

"I
 spent
 14
 months 
in
 Evin
 Prison
 but
 the
 situation
 is
 much,
 much
 worse
 for
 Shane 
and
 Josh,
 who
 have
 now
 been 
held
 for 
more
 than
 21
 months," she said in the statement. "They
 have 
to
 live
 every 
second
 of
 every
 day
 with
 the
 fear
 and uncertainty
 that
 comes
 from
 not 
knowing
 why
 they
 are 
being 
held, 
what 
is
 going 
to
 happen 
to
 them
 or
 how
 their
 families 
are
 coping."

Fattal and Bauer have remained in Iran and pleaded not guilty in court, while Shourd pleaded not guilty in absentia.

The three were seized by Iranian police while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009. They and their families have maintained that were not spying and if they crossed the border, it was not on purpose.

Tags: SARAH SHOURD, IRANIAN HIKERS, FREE THE HIKERS


Allie Bidwell is the news editor. Contact her at [email protected]



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