Three American Hikers Imprisoned in Iran to Share Their Story on CBS SUNDAY MORNING
Three Americans who were captured and imprisoned in Iran after inadvertently crossing the border from Iraq found ways to break prison rules to maintain their sanity, they tell Tracy Smith in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD to be broadcast March 16, 2014 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
In fact, two of them found a way to have sex during their imprisonment.
Breaking rules was a way to remain mentally alive in an environment where everything is controlled, says Sarah Shourd, who was imprisoned in 2009 with fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal.
"You have to get permission to go to the bathroom," Shourd says. "You don't know if you're going to get a shower. You wait by the door for food to come. You start smelling it and anticipating it hours before it's actually brought to your cell. You have absolutely no autonomy. And we learned many ways to break the rules. And those - and breaking the rules and resisting our condition was what helped us stay sane and feel like we would never be broken."
The three friends were hiking in the Zagros Mountains of Northern Iraq when they say soldiers appeared in the distance and waved them over. When the three reached the men, the soldiers pointed to the ground and told the hikers they were in Iran - illegally. The three say there were no signs, no warnings, no indications they were near the border. The trio was taken into custody and charged with espionage.
"There are very few moments in your life when everything changes forever," Shourd tells Smith. "And that was one of those moments."
Fattal tells Smith he realized they were Cut Off from the rest of the world and wondered if anyone would care. "The hard part was I realized immediately after that was that if I were in America, I'm not sure I would have cared about three American hikers," Fattal says.
Shourd was released from prison in 2010 on what the Iranians called humanitarian reasons and after the Sultan of Oman reportedly paid a $500,000 in bail. Fattal and Bauer were released in 2011.
The three hikers also talk with Smith about their ordeal in prison, their new book, "A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran," and life since being freed.
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.