U.S. Hikers Held Captive in Iran Released


U.S. hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer bounded down the stairs of an Oman Royal Air Force Jet and into the arms of their cheering families.

Fattal and Bauer, both 29, looked healthy, but slimmer. They were released from a Tehran prison after being held for more than two years on spy charges.

A judge granted their release after a bail of $1 million was paid for their freedom.

"We are so happy we are free and so relieved we are free," Fattal said.

"Two years in prison is too long," said Bauer. "And we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran."

Also greeting the pair was fellow hiker Sarah Shourd. She was arrested too but freed a year ago. Shourd embraced Bauer, who proposed to her in prison.

Swiss and Omani diplomats helped facilitate the men's release since the U.S. has no relations with Tehran. Bauer and Fattal were freed just minutes before President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

"It was the right thing to do," the President said. "They shouldn't have been held in the first place, but we're glad they're now home."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised last week the hikers' release was imminent. He's now preparing for his address at the U.N. on Thursday.

The hikers are expected to be back in the United States in a matter of days. In Josh Fattal 's hometown near Philadelphia, "welcome home" signs are already up .

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