Elliott Abrams

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Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Of Gratitude, Ingratitude, and Imprisonment in Iran

by Elliott Abrams
September 22, 2011

Shane Bauer (R), one of the U.S. hikers who was held in Iran on charges of espionage, hugs a relative as he smiles at fiancee Sarah Shourd upon his arrival in Muscat after his release from Tehran's Evin prison, September 21, 2011 (Courtersy REUTERS/SANA).

In the last year I have written several blog posts about the American hikers imprisoned in Iran, hoping to help keep attention focused on getting them freed. Like every American I was delighted to see them out, finally, yesterday.

But like many Americans, I was not delighted by the statement made immediately by one of the two, Shane Bauer. After thanking the Sultan of Oman for helping get them out, he said this:

Two years in prison is too long and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.

Who exactly are the “political prisoners” in America? Can we have some names? Who exactly are the “unjustly imprisoned people” in America, and how precisely does Mr. Bauer know them to be “unjustly imprisoned” rather than convicted according to due process of law?

Given that Mr. Bauer has just suffered two years imprisonment by Iran for the crime of hiking and mistakenly crossing a border, is he entirely comfortable with his comparison of the two countries in the statement just quoted? So it would appear. Thinking of the immense diplomatic activity this country undertook to free him and the enthusiasm with which his liberation was greeted yesterday, that statement of his leaves a very bad taste.

Post a Comment 22 Comments

  • Posted by Matt

    Wow, I guess you aren’t aware of Guantanamo Bay. Clearly you let his comment upset you to the point where you forgot to think.

  • Posted by Philip Barbee

    You ask, “Who exactly are the ‘unjustly imprisoned people’ in America, and how precisely does Mr. Bauer know them to be ‘unjustly imprisoned’ rather than convicted according to due process of law?

    A short list would be:

    Joseph Abbitt
    Habib Wahir Abdal
    Kenneth Adams
    Gilbert Alejandro
    Richard Alexander
    Marvin Anderson
    Herman Atkins
    Steven Avery
    William D. Avery
    James Bain
    Steven Barnes
    Chester Bauer
    Antonio Beaver
    Gene Bibbins
    Phillip Bivens
    Michael Blair
    Kirk Bloodsworth
    Donte Booker
    Orlando Boquete
    Larry Bostic
    Marcellius Bradford
    Ted Bradford
    Mark Diaz Bravo
    Kennedy Brewer
    Johnny Briscoe
    Dale Brison
    Jimmy Ray Bromgard
    Dennis Brown
    Danny Brown
    Roy Brown
    Keith Brown
    Patrick Brown
    David Johns Bryson
    Ronnie Bullock
    Harold Buntin
    Victor Burnette
    A.B. Butler
    Kevin Byrd
    Dean Cage
    Leonard Callace
    Anthony Capozzi
    Anthony Caravella
    Terry Chalmers
    Clyde Charles
    Ulysses Rodriguez Charles
    Charles Chatman
    Robert Clark
    Allen Coco
    Timothy Cole
    Ronald Cotton
    Stephan Cowans
    Roy Criner
    McKinley Cromedy
    Alan Crotzer
    Rolando Cruz
    Calvin Wayne Cunningham
    Charles Dabbs
    Dwayne Allen Dail
    Richard Danziger
    Willie Davidson
    Gerald Davis
    Dewey Davis
    Cody Davis
    Larry W. Davis
    Frederick Daye
    James Dean
    Wilton Dedge
    Jeff Deskovic
    Luis Diaz
    William Dillon
    John Dixon
    Bobby Ray Dixon
    Alejandro Dominguez
    Thomas Doswell
    Gary Dotson
    Cornelius Dupree
    Timothy Durham
    Douglas Echols
    Clarence Elkins
    Lonnie Erby
    Michael Evans
    Jerry Lee Evans
    Charles Irvin Fain
    Scott Fappiano
    Joseph Fears Jr.
    Wiley Fountain
    Dennis Fritz
    Larry Fuller
    Donald Eugene Gates
    James Curtis Giles
    Larry Gillard
    Bruce Godschalk
    Hector Gonzalez
    Kathy Gonzalez
    Donald Wayne Good
    Bruce Dallas Goodman
    Andrew Gossett
    David A. Gray
    Anthony Gray
    Paula Gray
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    Kevin Green
    Michael Green
    Michael Anthony Green
    William Gregory
    Byron Halsey
    Dennis Halstead
    William O’Dell Harris
    Clarence Harrison
    Nathaniel Hatchett
    Travis Hayes
    Chad Heins
    Eugene Henton
    Alejandro Hernandez
    Anthony Hicks
    Larry Holdren
    Dana Holland
    Edward Honaker
    Darryl Hunt
    Kenneth Ireland
    Willie Jackson
    Dwayne Jackson
    Lesly Jean
    Verneal Jimerson
    Albert Johnson
    Calvin Johnson
    Larry Johnson
    Richard Johnson
    Rickie Johnson
    Arthur Johnson
    Anthony Johnson
    Joe Jones
    Ronald Jones
    David Allen Jones
    Entre Nax Karage
    William Kelly
    John Kogut
    Paul D. Kordonowy
    Kerry Kotler
    Ray Krone
    Barry Laughman
    Carlos Lavernia
    Johnnie Lindsey
    Steven Linscott
    Eddie Joe Lloyd
    Eddie James Lowery
    Marcus Lyons
    Ronnie Mahan
    Dale Mahan
    Dennis Maher
    Michael Marshall
    Ryan Matthews
    Larry Mayes
    Curtis McCarty
    Robert McClendon
    Antron McCray
    Arvin McGee
    Thomas McGowan
    Lawrence McKinney
    Clark McMillan
    Leonard McSherry
    Michael Mercer
    Billy Wayne Miller
    Neil Miller
    Robert Miller
    Jerry Miller
    Perry Mitchell
    Marvin Mitchell
    Brandon Moon
    Curtis Jasper Moore
    Vincent Moto
    Arthur Mumphrey
    Bruce Nelson
    Willie Nesmith
    Alan Newton
    Alan G. Northrop
    James O’Donnell
    James Ochoa
    Christopher Ochoa
    Larry Ollins
    Calvin Ollins
    Victor Ortiz
    Chaunte Ott
    Douglas Pacyon
    Maurice Patterson
    Freddie Peacock
    Marlon Pendleton
    Larry Peterson
    Steven Phillips
    Jeffrey Pierce
    Johnny Pinchback
    Brian Piszczek
    David Shawn Pope
    Anthony Powell
    Ricardo Rachell
    Willie Rainge
    John Restivo
    Donald Reynolds
    Kevin Richardson
    James Richardson
    Anthony Robinson
    George Rodriguez
    Lafonso Rollins
    Miguel Roman
    Peter Rose
    Julius Ruffin
    Larry Ruffin
    Fredric Saecker
    Yusef Salaam
    Ben Salazar
    Raymond Santana
    Eric Sarsfield
    Omar Saunders
    Calvin Lee Scott
    Samuel Scott
    Dwayne Scruggs
    Debra Shelden
    David Shephard
    Walter D. Smith
    Billy James Smith
    Frank Lee Smith
    Walter Snyder
    Frank Sterling
    Robert Lee Stinson
    David Brian Sutherlin
    Josiah Sutton
    Ronald Gene Taylor
    Ada JoAnn Taylor
    Paul Terry
    Victor Larue Thomas
    Phillip Leon Thurman
    James Tillman
    Steven Toney
    Raymond Towler
    Jerry Frank Townsend
    Keith E. Turner
    David Vasquez
    Eduardo Velasquez
    Armand Villasana
    James Waller
    Patrick Waller
    Gregory Wallis
    Billy Wardell
    Douglas Warney
    Earl Washington
    Calvin Washington
    Leo Waters
    Kenny Waters
    Jerry Watkins
    John Kenneth Watkins
    Mark Webb
    Troy Webb
    Thomas Webb
    Bernard Webster
    John Jerome White
    Joseph White
    Arthur Lee Whitfield
    Drew Whitley
    Michael Anthony Williams
    Dennis Williams
    Willie Williams
    Derrick Williams
    Ron Williamson
    John Willis
    Calvin Willis
    Thomas Winslow
    Korey Wise
    Glen Woodall
    James Lee Woodard
    Anthony D. Woods
    Kenneth Wyniemko
    Nicholas Yarris
    Larry Youngblood

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/know/Browse-Profiles.php

  • Posted by Danny Black

    Reminds of the comment made by the CIA team responsible for releasing the hostages in 80s Lebanon when the first hostage launched into a long, anti-American diatribe – “Can we give him back?”

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    After having heard that appalling statement it seemed that he might actually be getting out too soon .

  • Posted by Eddie Abbott

    Let’s give the guy a break, the statement was not made on American soil, I trust he will have more to say after his stress level has reduced, back on U.S. soil.

  • Posted by Fresh

    You call them hikers unlike Iran that calls them spies, what would you call three Iranians being arrested in Florida waters without any passport or any reason for being there and claiming they were fishing in US waters? wouldn’t you call them spies? You asked who exactly are those detained Iranians? There are some 60 Iranian prisoners in US , 11 of them on political grounds including Dr. Amir Hussein Ardabili , including Shahrzad mir-Qolikhan , including many other IRanians? why do you pretend that there’s no such matter when there is indeed ? why covering truths? why lying? Americans are not tired of lying?

  • Posted by Fresh
  • Posted by badgergirl

    The “Innocence Project” takes cases that may have lack DNA and have other evidentiary doubt. Often evidence has been suppressed due to ill timed Miranda warnings and other legal means. Many of these people may be “unjustly imprisoned” from a legal standpoint, but in reality they are where they belong.

  • Posted by Jon Letman

    Two words Mr. Abrams: Maher Arar (http://maherarar.net/)

  • Posted by Hunter Deely

    Troy Davis.

    Any nation that executes its own citizens is not a civilized nation, whether those citizens are guilty or not. The execution of innocents just makes it that much more barbaric–for in an imperfect system of justice, the execution of the guilty will inevitably result, as we saw so tragically in Georgia recently, of the murder of the innocent.

    Every “illegal alien” awaiting deportation is a political prisoner.

    Every woman shackled to her bed during childbirth is a political prisoner.

    Every inmate who is raped in prison is a political prisoner.

    Every person of color imprisoned for a nonviolent drug crime is a political prisoner.

    Every drug addict in prison instead of a rehabilitation center is a political prisoner.

    Every homeless person arrested for vagrancy is a political prisoner.

  • Posted by SRM

    @Philip Barbee:

    Had you actually done any research on any of the people on the Innocence Project’s list that you so neatly copy-and-pasted, you would have known that a great many of the people on it have been exonerated already and are therefore not wrongfully imprisoned.

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  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    To the question about compatibility problems, I am a mere blogger whose information technology officers handle that sort of question. Sorry I can’t help.

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