By: Taylor Friedman Tue., Jul. 12 2011 at 2:10 PM
It’s been almost two years since three Bay Area hikers traveling through the Kurdistan region of Iraq were detained by Iranian officials for allegedly straying across an unmarked border.
Shane Bauer; his fiancee, Sarah Shourd; and Joshua Fattal, all graduates of UC Berkeley, were imprisoned on July 31, 2009, on charges of espionage. Shourd, who was released on bail in 2010 because of poor health, has returned to the United States and is actively lobbying for the others’ release.
On Wednesday, July 13, friends of Bauer will be attending a benefit at San Francisco’s RayKo Photo Center to mark the second birthday he’s spent in captivity and to showcase his work as a photojournalist in the Middle East. Proceeds from food and drink sales will go toward the Free the Hikers campaign.
Shourd will be joined by other guests — including Shon Meckfessel, the “fourth hiker,” who had the good fortune of being bedridden with a cold the day of the hike — to give speeches, show a documentary about the ordeal, and present Bauer’s own film about Darfur rebels.
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch are among those who have maintained the hikers’ innocence and pressed for their release.
The event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.