American Sprung From an Iranian Jail Wants Freedom for 'Unjustly Imprisoned People in America'

By Susan Jones | September 22, 2011 | 6:02am EDT

In this photo released by the Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, US hikers Shane Bauer, right, and Josh Fattal, smile, at the Tehran's Mehrabad airport before leaving Iran. (AP Photo/IRNA, Ehsan Nederipour)

(CNSNews.com) - The two Americans released Wednesday from an Iranian jail say they're happy to be free, but one of them expressed a dim view of American justice in his first brief comments to the media.

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

Bauer didn't say who he considers to be "unjustly imprisoned" in the United States.

His friend Josh Fattal expressed his "deepest gratitude" to "His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman for obtaining our release. We are sincerely grateful to the government of Oman for hosting our families," he said.

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Neither man thanked the U.S. government, which has worked behind the scenes for many months to win their release.

Bauer and Fattal arrived in Muscat, Oman, on Wednesday after Iran's Foreign Ministry announced they had been released as a gesture of Islamic mercy and in response to calls from world leaders.

Freedom in this case wasn't free. Iran set bail at $1 million for the Americans' release, and it's not clear who paid the money. Some reports said Oman may have.

President Obama called it "wonderful, wonderful news about the hikers, we are thrilled ... It's a wonderful day for them and for us."

Bauer, Fattal, and Bauer's girlfriend (now fiance) Sarah Shourd were detained in July 2009 while hiking along the Iran-Iraq border. Iran accused them of spying. Shourd was released from an Iranian jail last year.

The Associated Press said prior to their imprisonment, Bauer had been working as a freelance journalist and Fattal is described as an environmental activist.

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