Friends and family of Josh Fattal describe hearing the news of his release and the joy of bringing him home after more than two years
Freed American Josh Fattal, center in blue shirt, hugs brother Alex and their mother on landing in Oman / Reuters
On the menu for Josh Fattal when he arrived home after 25 months in jail in Iran: basketball and Indian food.
Fattal and fellow American hiker Shane Bauer, both 29, were released on Sept. 23 after more than two years in solitary confinement. Oman, which sometimes acts as an unofficial mediator between Iran and the U.S., paid $500,000 bail for each. Overnight, they went from hostages at Tehran's most notorious political prison to international celebrities.
"They had intimations, a general sketch of all sorts of world leaders who were involved," Josh's brother, Alex, told me. "But there's a lot of details it'll take them to get up to speed."
Josh's best friend, Farah Mawani, the social media director for the thousands-strong Free the Hikers campaign, added, "He's not an internet addict. I don't know how much he's able to grasp, the level of global support."
In prison, Fattal and Bauer were usually able to see 15 minutes of Iranian television news per day. But some aspects of the cultural zeitgeist -- like the popularity of Twitter, which constantly streamed news of the case -- will need to be learned. "I asked him, 'do you even know what Twitter is?' And he said very calmly, 'Oh yes, Alex sent me a book [about Twitter.]' Alex kept him on top of stuff."