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Vigils held for U.S. hikers jailed in Iran

By the CNN Wire Staff
Sarah Shourd, pictured in an undated family photo, is one of three American hikers detained in Iran since July.
Sarah Shourd, pictured in an undated family photo, is one of three American hikers detained in Iran since July.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vigils held in cities nationwide for U.S. hikers held in Iran
  • Families say hikers accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran
  • Petition sent to the Iranian Mission to the U.N. asking for their release
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(CNN) -- Groups gathered in several cities across the United States on Sunday at vigils to support three American hikers detained in Iran.

Vigils were planned in cities in Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts Washington, Oregon and New York, organizers said. In Berkeley, California, people braved driving rain Sunday to gather and call for the release of the hikers.

"We are sending love and support to Sarah, Shane and Josh," Meredith Walters told CNN-affiliate KGO. "We are waiting. We are writing letters and talking in the press. We are spreading the word and asking that they be freed."

Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were detained on July 3 in Iran.

Their families said they accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while on a hiking trip in Iraq's Kurdistan region. They are being held on espionage charges. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has told the country's semiofficial Fars News Agency that the country plans to put the hikers on trial.

The United States has appealed to Iranian leaders to release the three as soon as possible, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

The hikers' families said they have submitted a petition with more than 10,000 signatures to the Iranian Mission to the United Nations asking for their release.

Bauer and Fattal, both 27, are being held in the same cell in a Tehran prison; Shourd is in a cell there by herself but can visit the other two every day, the families said earlier.

Bauer's parents were at a vigil in Minnesota Sunday.

"It's great to have all the support and people praying and keeping the kids in their thoughts. It's so helpful for all of us," Al Bauer told CNN-affiliate KARE.

 
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