One the three American hikers jailed in Iran told her mother in a brief telephone call this week that prison officials have denied her requests for medical treatment and a cellmate, her mother said Thursday.
Sarah Shourd's mother, Nora, said her daughter was allowed to call her cell phone on Monday and the two talked for three or four minutes. It was only the second phone call her 31-year-old daughter has been permitted to make since she was jailed in Iran more than a year ago.
The mother said they talked about her daughter's medical problems, including a breast lump and pre-cancerous cervical cells, and her solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison. She said her daughter has asked jailers for medical treatment and a cellmate — but her requests have been ignored.
Nora Shourd said her daughter told her, "They won't listen to me."
Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal were seized by Iranian authorities while they were on a hiking trip in the mountainous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq in July 2009, according to their families. The Iranian authorities accused them of illegally crossing the border. Their families have said they may have been captured on the Iraqi side of the border, and the U.S. government has called for their release.
"Of course it's always wonderful to hear your daughter's voice," Nora Shourd told The Associated Press. "And she did sound strong. She sounded positive and strong in a way but at the end of the phone call it all broke down, when you have to say goodbye at the end of the phone call."
Nora Shourd said she has asked a United Nations human rights official to intervene to get medical treatment and an end to solitary confinement for her daughter. She is also pressing the case with Swiss diplomats in Iran.
The mother said her daughter was monitored while they spoke and told to end the conversation.
"She can't speak freely. I think she tried to get as much information across to me as she could," Nora Shourd said.
She added that Sarah Shourd asked the hikers' mothers to hold hands and visualize their children holding hands as a way to keep them close.
Sarah Shourd and Bauer had been living in Damascus, Syria, and became engaged after they were imprisoned. Fattal had been living overseas and was visiting them when the three went on the hiking trip. Bauer and Fattal are both 28. The three met as students at the University of California at Berkeley.
They were detained one year ago last Saturday. The date was marked by rallies at more than 20 locations around the world. The Iranian government allowed the mothers to visit their children in May.