Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer
Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, the American hikers arrested
by Iran in July 2009 for allegedly spying, are expected to marry at an undisclosed location in California on Saturday, according to a statement released by Shourd's San Francisco-based attorney, Ben Rosenfeld.
"Now that this day has come, all I can do is close my eyes and fill with gratitude, for our freedom, for the love of so many generous people around the world, and for the very soil under my feet," Shourd said in the statement.
During their time in captivity, Bauer, a journalist, made his fiancé a ring
from the threads of his shirt. He proposed again – with a new ring – upon being reunited with Shourd, a teacher, after his eventual release
last September, after 14 months in captivity.
"I want the same freedom for everyone held unjustly and under barbaric conditions, in Iran and throughout the world," Shourd's statement on Friday also said.
Bauer, Shourd and their friend Josh Fattal
were arrested near Iran's mountainous border with Iraq. Although officials there alleged that they were spies who illegally entered into Iranian territory, no public evidence to the claim has ever been presented.
At the time of their engagement
, Shourd was reluctant to speak about the circumstances, though Bauer's mother, Cindy Hickey, confirmed that her son popped the question a second time with their families looking on in Oman, whose government had helped secure their release.
"He proposed to her in prison. He re-proposed to her with a new ring," Hickey said. "Shane picked that out in Oman. It was important to both of them that he got something from Oman, because we're very grateful to the country and of course the Sultan."
Fattal is to serve as best man at Saturday's ceremony. He said: "Shane and Sarah are my best friends. Our bonds are unbreakable."