Shane Bauer ill in Iranian prison

Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer

AP and CNN are reporting this morning that Swiss diplomats were able to visit Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal in their Iranian prison cells recently, and that Bauer has a stomach ailment and Shourd has a serious gynecological condition and is battling depression.

Bauer, 27, is a freelance journalist and Minnesota native. His mother, Cindy Hickey, lives in Pine City.

He, Shourd, 31, and Fattal, 27, were detained by Iranian authorities last July while hiking on the Iran side of its border with Iraq. They're accused -- falsely according U.S. officials and their families -- of being spies.

"We thank the Iranian authorities for allowing Shane, Sarah and Josh to receive another consular visit at long last, but we are alarmed to learn of their physical and emotional state of health and fear their well-being will suffer even more unless their case is resolved without delay," the families said in a statement Friday.

The 40-minute diplomatic visit was the first allowed by Iranian authorities in five months.

Bauer is based in the Middle East. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor, The Nation,,, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Democracy Now! and other news outlets. Check out his web site here, and a Facebook page seeking the release of the hikers here.