It’s been one year since a trio of UC Berkeley graduates crossed the Iraqi border into Iran and were arrested. California’s two senators are asking their colleagues in Congress to press the Iranian government for their release.
Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California are marking the one year anniversary with a Congressional resolution urging the unconditional release of the three American hikers.
The UC Berkeley graduates were hiking in Iraq’s Kurdish region when, reportedly, they accidentally strayed over the Iranian border. Just before Mother's Day, Boxer urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to immediately release Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer — or at least allow their moms to visit. She said, "these are young people who got lost and this is wrong."
Iran granted the visit, but that's the last time the mothers have seen their children.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also called for their release, saying their detention is unjustifiable. Iran says the three Americans were spying — a charge the hikers and the U.S. government deny.
To mark the anniversary, families of the trio rallied outside the Iranian mission to the United Nations. They held mock prison bars and pitched a tent with a sign reading “Free the hikers. 365 days.”
A vote on the Senate resolution is expected next week.
President Barack Obama is also calling on Iran to immediately release the three U.S. hikers.
Obama says the three have never worked for the U.S government and are "innocent of any crime." He calls their detention "unjust" and says releasing the hikers "is a humanitarian imperative."
Wire services contributed to this report.