UC Berkeley alumna refuses to appear in court
Date Added Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 8:06 pm
Last Updated Thursday, May 5, 2011 | 12:31 am
Category: News > University > Student Life
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.
Allie Bidwell is the news editor. Contact her at [email protected]
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