Newly freed hiker Bauer back home in Minnesota

AP News
Posted: Oct 04, 2011 5:55 PM
Newly freed hiker Bauer back home in Minnesota

Two weeks after walking out of an Iranian prison, Shane Bauer is still adapting to freedom _ and trying to figure out what to do with it.

Bauer and his fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were spending time this week at his mother's rural Minnesota home, taking long walks, singing songs around a fire and cooking meals together. They aren't spending a lot of time talking about the time Shane lost to prison, Shane's mother, Cindy Hickey, said.

"His biggest task is not to get too overwhelmed with things to do, and trying to enjoy the simple fact that he's free," Hickey said Tuesday.

Bauer, Shourd and their friend Josh Fattal were arrested by Iranian soldiers in July 2009 as they hiked near the Iraq-Iran border. Shourd was released after 14 months, but Bauer and Fattal were held more than two years before being freed on bail on Sept. 21.

Bauer and Fattal, both 29, have said they believe they were held simply because they are Americans. They described an existence in prison that included solitary confinement, tiny cells, and the screams of prisoners being beaten.

Shourd has been living in Oakland, Calif., since her release. Bauer, a freelance journalist, grew up in Onamia, Minn., and Fattal, an environmental activist, is from Elkins Park, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

On Tuesday, Hickey said that Bauer and Shourd were not doing interviews. Fattal's mother declined an interview, and he didn't respond to messages left at her home.

Bauer and Shourd arrived Sunday to spend a few days at Hickey's rambling property in a valley south of Pine City, about an hour north of Minneapolis, where she keeps horses, dogs and other animals. Hickey lamented that they hadn't had time to ride horses, something she and Shane used to do together.

Both Bauer and Fattal were noticeably thin on their release from prison. Hickey said her son was recovering from anemia and an ulcer, but he was "not as gaunt" as he had been. On Tuesday, he went out in the morning for a three-mile run, she said.

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Bauer proposed to Shourd while both were in prison. Asked whether the couple had firmed up wedding plans, Hickey said no.

They have been exploring their options for when they will speak in detail about the imprisonment, Hickey said.

She said Bauer has described periods in prison where he felt like he was losing time, but he doesn't appear to be angry.

"Shane has ambition, he has voice, he wants to continue doing things for other people," she said of her son, who worked as a freelancer journalist before his imprisonment. "He wants to take this experience and do something positive."