PHILADELPHIA (Jewish Exponent) — Freed American hiker Joshua Fattal celebrated his homecoming in suburban Philadelphia with about 200 family members, friends and supporters.
The celebration was held over the weekend at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa. Despite the step into the public spotlight, Fattal is not granting any interviews yet about his 26-month ordeal in an Iranian prison.
“Josh and Shane and Sarah are off the grid for a while, and their families are trying to get back to life as usual,” said Samantha Topping, a spokeswoman for the family, referring also to Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd. Along with Fattal, they were arrested by Iranian authorities in 2009 after apparently crossing over from Iraq unintentionally.
Bauer and Fattal, who had been convicted of spying for the United States and sentenced to eight years in prison, were freed last month after an anonymous donor paid $1 million in bail. Shourd had been freed a year ago for medical reasons.
The three maintained their innocence and said they considered themselves hostages of the Iranian regime.
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Upon Fattal’s return to the United States on Sept. 25, the Jewish Exponent had reported about his Jewishness and that his father, Jacob, was an Iraqi-born Jew who had lived in Israel before coming to the United States and still has family there. The family requested that the paper refrain from publishing such information while their son was held in Iran.
Members of the Fattal family have declined to be interviewed by the Exponent.