Saturday May 12, 201202:06 PM GMT
Suspected US spy changes tune on Iran
Sarah Shourd walks with her mother Nora upon her arrival at the Omani capital of Muscat on September 14.
Sarah Shourd walks with her mother Nora upon her arrival at the Omani capital of Muscat on September 14.
Sat Jul 2, 2011 3:45PM
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Suspected US spy Sarah Shourd, who was released by Iran on humanitarian grounds, has changed her tune about the treatment she received while in the Islamic Republic.

Shourd, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer were arrested after illegally entering Iran from neighboring Iraq in 2009. They were later charged with espionage.

She was granted bail last year on grounds of Islamic compassion due to her health condition and despite her trial date drawing near.

The suspect had recurrently voiced her gratitude for the humane and respectful behavior of the Iranian authorities, especially Iranian prison guards, towards her.

On Thursday, Shourd attended a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York upon the invitation of the world body's Correspondents Association.

There she denied all her previous remarks, claiming that she and the two other suspects had been subjected to 'torture and sexual abuse' while in prison.

“I confirm that the other two have been insulted and [they] have been subjected to sexual abuse,” she said. “Of course, sexual abuse, meaning indecent words and insults the two were being faced with.”

Asked following the press conference about her refusal to return to Iran, where she was supposed to attend scheduled court sessions, Shourd claimed, “My therapist advised me not to return to Iran as I could be afflicted with psychological and mental problems. For the same reason, I decided not to attend the court's later sessions,” IRNA reported.

Upon release, Shourd told Press TV at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport, "I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people, that have been involved, and especially, particularly want to address [Iran's] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture."

On December 7, 2010, the CNN website also published an article in which Shourd had said that, while in Evin Prison in Tehran, she received flowers from a female guard twice and that the guard had given her hope of freedom.

Reacting to Shourd's Thursday comments, Iran's Permanent Mission to the UN categorically rejected allegations about mistreatment of the US citizens.

Changes in Shourd's claims “give the impression that she might be under political pressures to come up with such unrealistic allegations,” the delegation said.

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