Investigative Fund reporter Shane Bauer, and his hiking companions Nora Shourd and Joshua Fattal, who have been in Tehran’s Evin Prison since last summer, were finally able to speak to their parents over the phone on March 9, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The three friends were captured when they accidentally crossed over into Iran while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan last July.

Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey, 49, of Pine City, Minn., said he told her he loved her and expressed concern for his family.

“He said, ‘We don’t know much about our case. We don’t know why it’s taking so long,’ ” Hickey said.

The call lasted just one minute. “We talked very fast. I’m sure both of us had rehearsed this call in our minds for seven months now,” Hickey said.

Read the rest of the article here. Also see our recent blog post about a Democracy Now! interview with two of the three mothers.

UPDATE: On April 21, 2010, The New York Times published an editorial calling for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release the three Americans. The Times writes:

The fact that Iranian officials cannot agree on charges against the hikers, or back them up, is a sure sign that something fishy is going on. After the Americans were held for three months, some Iranian officials accused them of spying — but never offered proof. The hikers’ Iranian lawyer, Massoud Shafie, told the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran recently that he has seen their file and there is no evidence of espionage. He said both the file and the judge handling the case say that the only charge is “illegal border crossing.” Under Iranian law, that calls for a cash penalty — not jail time.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran claims that his country’s judiciary is independent. We’re deeply skeptical. But let’s test the proposition. The court should levy the cash penalty and let the hikers go home. They have suffered too much already.

Read the editorial here.