Local/State

Local hiker held in Iran gets closer to home

Monday, September 26, 2011

Elkins Park native Josh Fattal, who was held in Iran for two years after he and a friend were convicted of spying, could return home this week.

His mother, Laura, found flowers and well-wishes when she arrived home after more than a week in Oman where Josh and hiking partner Shane Bauer were flown after being released from Iranian prison.

The pair, convicted of espionage, said they were simply hiking through Kurdish Iraq.

"They suffered from white torture, which is isolation, tremendous isolation from other prisoners. They were well fed, there was decent sanitation, however isolation is a type of torture," Laura Fattal said.

She firmly denies Iran's claim that her son and Bauer were spies.

"Our own president, President Obama, said this is total nonsense. They have never worked for the U.S. government," she said.

The family says their sleepless nights are over as neighbors come by to share the love and the flowers keep on coming. Josh is now in seclusion somewhere with his brother Alex.

"He's a little thin, but we're going to fix that," said Laura.

Josh is expected to return to the quiet neighborhood where he grew up sometime this week, far away from the world political stage.

The nightmare, stemming from what started as a vacation hike, is now behind him.

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montgomery county, iran, pennsylvania, iran hikers, local/state
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