From what I’ve read and see, Bauer was a freelance photographer and journalist who liked to put himself in risky situations. He’d made previous trips to Darfur, Ethiopia and Yemen. Sure, the Iranians love a good American freelancer. Fattal seems to have been a rather naïve young man with an interest in the “environment.” Although it looks as though they were both naïve in their different ways.
I understand the joys of a walk on the wild side, and I certainly understand the joys of creative trespass, but a hike on the Iraq-Iran borders still seems to be taking things a bit far. Of course an eight-year prison sentence seems to be taking things obscenely further. And it did allow the New York Post to run this less than compassionate headline.
It must have been hard for a tabloid newspaper to resist, but really I think they should have tried to.