Families and friends of the three American hikers detained in Iran will mark the two-month anniversary of their detention at a candlelight vigil in Minneapolis on Wednesday night.
Shane Bauer, a freelance journalist and Minnesota native, his girlfriend Sarah Shourd, and friend Joshua Fattal were hiking in Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region on July 31 when they may have accidentally crossed the border in to Iran. Iran's state television said the Americans were arrested after they did not heed warnings from Iranian border guards.
On Tuesday, U.S. officials said that Iran has notified the Swiss government that it can have access to three Americans, according to the Associated Press.
The Iranian government had previously denied requests from family members and Swiss consulate officials to speak or meet with the hikers.
The Swiss consulate has been acting on behalf of the United States government, as the U.S. has not had formal diplomatic relations with Iran since the hostage crisis of 1979.
"It's dragging out, and we're really hoping for some discussions soon," said Laura Breckheimer, a friend of the Bauer family and organizer of this week's vigil.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Sept. 22, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Americans broke the law, and "we're not happy that his happened."
"What I can ask is that the judiciary expedites the process and gives it its full attention, and to basically look at the case with maximum leniency," Ahmadinejad said while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Bauer grew up in Onamia, Minnesota, 90 miles north of Minneapolis. His mother, Cindy Hickey, lives near Pine City in eastern Minnesota.
The former Minnesotan spent much of the last six years in the Middle East and North Africa working as a freelance journalist and photographer. His work has been published in the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New American Media, The Christian Science Monitor and other news services.
"His work was always looking at people and how they lived," said Annette Fuentes, managing editor of New American Media. Fuentes described Bauer as "a serious, responsible person with great respect for the Arab world."
The vigil will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Peace Garden, at 4124 Roseway Rd., Minneapolis.