A trio of US nationals who were jailed in Iran over alleged espionage charges for more than a year in 2009-2010 have sued the Islamic Republic for the torture they say they endured.
According to the Guardian on Saturday, Sarah Shourd, her ex-husband and fellow journalist Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal were detained by Iranian security forces while hiking along Iraqi border in 2009 have filed a lawsuit overseen by federal judge Richard Leon in Washington, the same judge who in 2019 ordered Iran to pay Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian $180 million for imprisoning him for more than a year on false espionage charges.
Any damages that the trio and their families might receive through their lawsuit would come out of Iranian government assets seized by the US due to sanctions, as part of the congressional Justice for Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.
The lawsuit said Shourd and Bauer moved to Yemen and then Syria in 2008 while dating because they wanted to continue practicing their Arabic language skills, and Fettel visited them in July of the following year and accompanied them on a hike to a waterfall in Iraqi Kurdistan, during which they apparently crossed into the Iranian territory without realizing it.
Iran let Shourd free in September 2010, describing her release as an act of clemency honoring the end of Ramadan after the intervention of the-then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bauer and Fattal were released a year later, presumably as a gesture meant to curry favor for Ahmadinejad as he was about to fly to New York to attend a United Nations general assembly meeting.