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Americans set for Iranian trial after a year behind bars

US hikers, including the one released last month, are to be tried next month for espionage and illegally entering Iran.

Released Sarah Shourd, centre, with Shane Bauer's mother (left) and Josh Fattal's mother on 19 September, 2010.
Released Sarah Shourd, centre, with Shane Bauer's mother (left) and Josh Fattal's mother on 19 September, 2010.
Image: Stephen Chernin/AP/Press Association Images

THE TWO US HIKERS WHO REMAIN in captivity in Iran are due to face trial early next month, according to Iranian authorities.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 28, face charges of illegally entering Iran and spying after being arrested on 31 July, 2009.

Espionage is punishable by execution in Iran.

Iran’s Press TV reported today that “contrary to the harsh treatment of Iranians in US custody, the three American detainees have been treated well despite he fact that they face very serious charges”.

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, said today she still hopes the two Americans will be released despite the 6 November being set as their trial date:

We do not believe there is any basis whatsoever for them to be put on trial, and we regret that they and their families are being subjected to the criminal system that we do not think in any way reflects their actions.

Released hiker also on trial

A third hiker who was arrested with Bauer and Fattal over a year ago was released on bail of around $500,000 last month.

Sarah Shourd, 32, returned to the US after her release. Masoud Shafii, lawyer for the hikers, said he had informed the families of the three hikers of the trial date because all three are accused of the charges.

Shafii said that Shourd’s family must decide if she will be present at the trial or not, but said “if she is not present, it will hurt her bail.”

AFP reports that when Shourd was released, Iranian prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabdi warned that if she failed to attend the trial, she would forfeit her bail money and would be prosecuted in absentia.

The hikers and their families claim that if they did cross the Iranian border, they did so inadvertently while hiking in Iraq.

Shourd said she has had no communication with Fattal and Bauer since she left Iran and continues to appeal to the Iranian government to release her friends..

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