Demanding the release of American hikers

The case of the detained trio in Iran should not leave the public eye.

The Iranian government hardly has a history of respecting human rights, which gives all the more reason to demand the immediate release of the three University of California-Berkeley graduates-turned-journalists who were arrested in Iran on July 31. Letting the three go is in the best interests of everyone involved âÄîthe journalists, the Iranian government and U.S.-Iran relations âÄî that will only sour more if the three are detained further. Accusations that the trio are working with the CIA to subvert IranâÄôs government have become tired and jaded, losing credibility with each new allegation. Friends of the three have called the assertions absurd, casting even more doubt on the already-fractured believability of the claims. Two years ago, Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., faced a similar situation when she was detained in Iran for nearly five months after having her passport stolen while visiting her mother. She was videotaped and broadcast in Iran making an alleged confession to supporting another Iranian revolution âÄî a broadcast that the Wilson Center dismissed as âÄúscripted and contrived.âÄù That must not happen again. Citizens can play a part in helping the three current detainees. Their best hope is for people to urge their representatives, government officials and the university administration to demand that IranâÄôs officials let them go without further incident. Their case must not leave the public spotlight. As UCLA Iranian Studies Director Hossein Ziai said, âÄúIf we forget about them, they may rot forever.âÄù As Iranian officials said, the trioâÄôs case is âÄúon its natural course.âÄù We hope the natural course will be their immediate release, which must be insisted on by citizens. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Daily Californian. Please send comments to [email protected]