On July 31, 2009, three American hikers left their hotel in northern Iraq for a vacation trek through the mountains. Somewhere along the Iran-Iraq border, Sarah Shourd, her boyfriend, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal strayed off course. Suddenly, the three friends were surrounded by Iranian soldiers who accused them of illegally crossing into Iran. They were arrested on the spot, thrown into prison and declared American spies.
Back in the States, the hikers' families waited in anguish. Weeks passed by without a word from Sarah, Shane or Josh.
In March 2010, seven months into the ordeal, Sarah was able to call home and let her family know she was alive. Two months later, Iran agreed to let the hikers have a brief reunion with their mothers. It was during this visit that Sarah's mother first learned that Sarah spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.
Then, in August 2010, Sarah was allowed to call home for a second time. It was with alarming news: She had a lump in her breast. Iranian leaders allowed Sarah to leave the country for treatment for the heavy price of $500,000. After nearly 14 months in prison, Sarah boarded a flight to Oman, where she had an emotional reunion with her mother.