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September 23rd, 2009
11:51 AM ET

Hiker's kin hopeful after Ahmadinejad remarks

(CNN) - Family members of one of the three hikers detained in Iran are heartened and hopeful over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's willingness to ask jurists to handle the case in a timely manner and weigh "maximum leniency" for their release.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/09/23/iran.hikers/art.iranhikers.fattal.jpg caption="Josh Fattal's relatives say they haven't had contact with him since he was detained in Iran."]

"We are encouraged by the recent statements of the president that he wants to deal with this matter expeditiously," said Alex Fattal, brother of hiker Josh Fattal.

Alex Fattal, who spoke to CNN's "American Morning" on Wednesday with his mother Laura Fattal, said family members haven't had contact with Josh and "we take things day by day."

Iranian authorities detained Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd after they strayed into Iran in late July while hiking in a part of northern Iraq's Kurdish region.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in New York on Tuesday night for the U.N. General Assembly meeting, addressed the issue in an Associated Press television interview.

He said the crossing of the Iranian border by "several American citizens" represented an "illegal entry," an act that is "considered a crime everywhere."

"The judiciary handles these cases. The judiciary in Iran is completely independent, and no one can interfere with the process of the law and work of the judge."

However, he said, "what I can ask is that the judiciary expedites the process and gives it its full attention ... and basically look at the case with maximum leniency."

The mothers of the the hikers wrote Ahmadinejad a letter asking him to bring their children to New York with him.

While that was not to be, Laura Fattal told CNN that "we're very, very encouraged by the compassion of President Ahmadinejad."

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Filed under: Iran
soundoff (One Response)
  1. mike-sey

    Kyra Phillips had the gall to ask why anyone should listen to Ahmadinajad and whether there was anyway he could be denied a platform on US soil. Apart from the fact that the UN is not US soil, hasn't she learned anything about common courtesy to heads of State.

    Or is she going to yell "You Lie!" , throw one of her designer sandals at his head, and pull down his tent. Is that the new American way – the new normal in the USA? Seems so and all Carol Costello's self-examination of what happened to civility in America was just so much CNN hot air.

    September 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm |