By Jennifer Glickel
MANHATTAN — Sarah Shourd, the American hiker who was recently freed after spending nearly 14 months in an Iranian prison, met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Manhattan on Friday.
Shourd, her fiancé Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal were hiking near the Iran-Iraq border on July 31, 2009 when they were arrested by Iranian border guards on charges of espionage for entering into Iranian territory. The men are still imprisoned.
"For me to talk to the president [is] something I prayed for while in prison," Shourd told ABC News on Friday.
"I just want to thank Mr. Ahmadinejad for this gesture of allowing my mother and I to meet with him and for the mothers of Shane and Josh. It was a very gracious gesture and a good meeting."
Shourd was held for 410 days, most of which were spent in solitary confinement. She was let out of prison on $500,000 bail on Sept. 14 by an unidentified person.
Along with her mother and the mothers of Bauer and Fattal, Shourd met with Ahmadinejad in an undisclosed location in Manhattan. While Shourd would not go into much detail about the group's meeting, she said that Ahmadinejad was friendlier than he appears in his public life in what was "a very human encounter, very personal."
"I'm just going to keep pushing every minute for their [Bauer and Fattal's] release on humanitarian grounds," Shourd said. "I feel my case sets a precedent for their release."