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Iran may release US hostage - if it gets $500k bail

The Islamic Republic had said it might release Sarah Shroud as a Ramadan offering… but now it wants cash.

Sarah Shroud (32) lived in Damascus, Syria, and had been hiking in Iraq.
Sarah Shroud (32) lived in Damascus, Syria, and had been hiking in Iraq.

IRAN HAS SAID it will release one of three American hikers who it took into custody on suspicion of spying last year – but only if someone is willing to post almost $500,000 (5 billion Iranian Rial, €375,000) to bail her.

The Islamic Republic had originally said it would release Sarah Shroud, who has serious health problems, yesterday as an act of clemency to mark the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Now, however, despite the release arrangements coming after the intervention of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the arrangement has been scrapped after the judiciary intervened and said any arrangement that would rescind Shroud’s detention and replace it with a bail arrangement required their assent.

The matter is now made complicated because of America’s trade sanctions with Iran, which the payment of bail could potentially be a violation of.

Tehran’s Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said Shroud’s detention had “been turned into a bail” after considering reports about her wellbeing. Shroud’s mother has said that her daughter, who has been held in solitary confinement since her arrest, has a lump on her breast and precancerous cells in her cervix.

Iranian police forces detained Shroud along with two friends, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, in July of last year after the three were accused of sneaking past the international border. Prosecutors claim to have evidence linking the three to American intelligence forces.

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Shroud’s mother has explained that the three friends were hiking in the scenic northern part of neighbouring Iraq and that if they had crossed the border, they had done so entirely unwittingly.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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