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Grassroots Voices


Grassroots Men and Children Speak Out - Women's Empowerment is Progress for All!

“COFAPRI is truly giving power to our wives, daughters, and our sisters and girls in our villages here. This helps them primarily, but it also helps us all with our families." - Bukanda Isaac, DR Congo.



Children's Education in Sierra Leone - Overcoming Challenges

Wurrie Kenda has grown up in Kroo Bay without any education. She is now at the Community School and is learning quickly. It is children like Wurrie that make WYCF's school such a special place....



Empowering Survivors in DR Congo

Help Safe World Field Partner, COFAPRI, to support rape survivors and their children in the mountain villages of Eastern DR Congo.

World News

Frederic Kazigwemo served time in jail for killing several people in 1994 | Photo: Benjamin Duerr/Al Jazeera

Rwanda genocide survivors back reconciliation

Mbyo is a Reconciliation Village, located one hour's drive from the capital of Kigali. Murderers and survivors of the Rwandan genocide, are neighbors. Attempting to rebuild the country.
Caroline Murphy

UK Heiress walks away from fortune after rift over her plans to turn firm into a co-operative

I have been vocal in my belief that leadership of this business must include those working on the ground if it is to continue to deliver for the clients who have placed their trust in us over the years.

International Women's Media Foundation: 'Protect Confidentiality of Sources'

IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation) urges the Supreme Court to recognize journalists' protection against compelled disclosure of confidential sources...
Pari Gul

The Afghan policewomen taking on the Taliban

The tiny but growing number of policewomen in Afghanistan not only risk death in the line of duty, they also face personal attack from extremists, and bigotry within the ranks

Field Partner News


Starting Young - Teaching Children's Rights in Tanzania

We promote Child Rights Clubs in schools, covering issues such as child marriage, FGM, domestic violence, disabilities, street children.... Last year, 7000 children participated...

Alliance News


Partnering for advocacy in rural Kenya

Pastoralist Child Foundation and the Fly Sister Fly Foundation partnered for an advocacy campaign in Samburu County. They held interactive sessions on early marriages, FGM/C, and challenges girls face in the pastoral nomadic community.

Sarah Shourd's fiance assaulted in prison


Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were finally released from prison on 21st September 2011.



June 9, 2011

Press Release

Families Say Incidents Heighten Their Concern for Welfare of Jailed Americans.

A guard in Evin Prison pushed jailed American Josh Fattal down stairs because he was furious that he took extra food and then repeatedly threw his friend Shane Bauer against the wall of his cell until his head began to bleed, according to former detainee Sarah Shourd. She also said the three friends feared they would be executed a few days after their arrest more than 22 months ago when a soldier who was guarding them began cocking his weapon.

“That was the most terrifying moment of my life... I just prayed to God that I would survive – that that wouldn’t be my last day on this earth. We just held hands and cried and begged them not to hurt us.”
Sarah Shourd.

Shourd, who is Bauer’s fiancée, told the BBC Persian TV show Be Ebarate Digar, that the beating occurred before she was released on humanitarian grounds and payment of $500,000 bail last September. Shourd also recounted the assault in an interview with the BBC’s HARDTalk which was broadcast on BBC World News TV on Thursday.

Shourd did not relate any other physical abuse but said she had no way of knowing what may have happened to Bauer and Fattal since her release. “My worst fear is that they’re not safe – especially when we haven’t seen them for so long,” Shourd told BBC Persian TV’s Enayat Fani. “There are months at a time where they don’t see anyone from the outside world. They don’t have consular access, they’re not allowed to see their lawyer, and we fear the worst.”

Shourd described another incident soon after their arrest when the three friends were forced into a car late at night and driven to a prison she could not identify. Shourd said she, Bauer and Fattal began “shaking with fear” when a soldier sitting in the front the vehicle started cocking his gun.

“That was the most terrifying moment of my life,” Shourd said. “I just prayed to God that I would survive –that that wouldn’t be my last day on this earth. We just held hands and cried and begged them not to hurt us.”

Bauer, 28, Fattal, 29, and Shourd, 32, were arrested by Iranian forces on July 31, 2009, while they were hiking behind a resort area of Kurdistan, a relatively safe region of Iraq where they were on vacation. The border area there is not marked. Iran’s judiciary has indicted them on baseless charges of espionage but Bauer and Fattal were not brought to court for a scheduled trial hearing on May 11. Iranian authorities have failed to explain their absence.
“We are shocked and angry at the way Shane and Josh are being treated and the terrible incidents that Sarah has told us about only heighten our grave concern for their physical and mental welfare. The people who are holding Shane and Josh are breaking Iran’s laws as well as international law and behaving shamefully. This nightmare must end and Shane and Josh must be released,” the men’s families said in a statement.

Fattal’s mother Laura and Bauer’s mother Cindy Hickey launched a rolling hunger strike on May 19 in solidarity with their sons, who went on hunger strike for 17 days earlier this year after their guards stopped bringing them letters from their families.
“There were some guards that had sympathy for us and they were nice to us and there were other guards that were very cruel, and that hated us, just because we were there and they assumed we had done something wrong,” Shourd said.
Shourd told the BBC that Fattal regularly collected extra food to take back to the small cell he shares with Bauer after a daily meeting they had with her in an open-air room and had never had a problem. One day, however, a guard “went crazy” and tried to stop him. Fattal was pushed down stairs while Shourd and Bauer were torn away from their friend and forced back into their cells, where they both began pounding on their doors and screaming.
Shourd said she learned at their meeting the next day that Fattal had not been hurt but Bauer had been assaulted. “The same guard, he came back, the one that was angry, and he started to push Shane against the wall, just slam him against the wall and every time he slammed him against the wall, Shane would stand up and he would say ‘Where’s Josh?’ ‘Where’s my friend?’ and he would slam him against the wall again,” Shourd said. “He slammed him against the wall I don’t know how many times, 10, 15 times, until the back of his head had blood.”

Bauer, a freelance photojournalist and Shourd, a teacher of English, were living in Damascus, Syria at the time of their vacation in Kurdistan. Fattal, an environmental advocate, was visiting them. The two men have been allowed to make only three brief telephone calls to their families since their arrest, most recently on May 22. Fattal spent his second birthday in jail on June 4.



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