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Kurds Identify 3 Hikers Held in Iran

August 4, 2009

taken from NY Times: Middle East

The Kurdish authorities identified the Americans as Shane Michael Bauer, of Emeryville, Calif.; Joshua Felix Fattal, of Cottage Grove, Ore.; and Sarah Emily Shourd, of Oakland, Calif. Kurdish officials said they were students, two of whom were studying Arabic in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Bauer and Ms. Shourd have also worked as freelance journalists, with recent articles from the Middle East.

Writing on the Web site Brave New Traveler, Ms. Shourd, 30, described herself as a “teacher-activist-writer from California currently based in the Middle East. She loves fresh broccoli, Zapatistas and anyone who can change her mind.”

She wrote an article for the site in 2008 about a family of Iraqi refugees in Aden, Yemen. More recently, in February, she wrote an article for a Web site called New America Media

Mr. Bauer, who is Ms. Shourd’s boyfriend, wrote an article from Baghdad for the June issue of The Nation magazine on the Iraqi Special Operations Forces. He is a Minnesota native who graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007 with a degree in peace and conflict studies, according to his Web site.

Sandy Close, the executive director of Pacific News Service, the parent company of New America Media, said Mr. Bauer left for the Middle East in the fall of 2008 and had since contributed a dozen stories to the service. He was based in Damascus, she said, and last contacted the service on July 27, saying he planned to spend a week in Kurdistan and file a article about the Kurdish elections.

Mr. Fattal, 27, who was working and residing until eight months ago at a sustainable living research center in Cottage Grove, was raised in Elkins Park, Pa., where his parents still live…

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