For more than two years, they sat together in an Iranian prison. For more than two years, they fended off sickness and depression, watching as their comrade showed signs of sickness so serious that she was allowed to return home without them. And now, the two UC Berkeley alumni may face eight more years of the same heinous conditions after they were sentenced.
Though the verdict was read, the campus community cannot consider this case closed.
In the summer of 2009, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were hiking near the Iran-Iraq border with Bauer’s fiance Sarah Shourd when the three were seized by Iranian authorities, accused of trespassing and spying — claims which those close to them have vehemently denied.
The drawn-out legal process came to somewhat of a resolution last Saturday with an eight-year sentence. But the evidence against them is extremely shaky, if at all existent.
With a brand new freshman class finding their way around UC Berkeley this week, it is the campus community’s duty to not let Bauer and Fattal become irrelevant. These men walked through the same doorways to get to class and were taught by some of the same professors that many of us engage with today.
We, as students, cannot execute a plan to solve this situation: The relations between the United States and Iran are beyond our reach. We cannot offer diplomatic solutions or economic resources. We can, however, offer a resounding voice with the UC Berkeley community, in unison with the friends and families of Bauer and Fattal. We must call on others within the campus — student government officials, administrators, students and professors — to renew the call for Bauer and Fattal’s and release. And we must remain steadfast in our determination to keep Bauer and Fattal alive in the campus consciousness and discourse.
No matter how much time passes, we should not and cannot forget these alumni who have captured the attention of the nation and the world. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “It is time for them to return home and be reunited with their families.”
We must stand behind our fellow Golden Bears.