Iran to Issue Verdict on American Hikers
Iran will soon issue verdicts on the American hikers that have been detained for more than two years on espionage charges, a judiciary official has been quoted as saying.
The two, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, have been awaiting a verdict since their trial ended last month. They pleaded not guilty to spying charges.
The two were arrested, along with American Sarah Shourd, in July 2009 near Iran’s border with Iraq. Shourd was released on bail in September 2010 due to health issues and returned to the United States.
Prosecutor General Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted as saying by Iranian agency ISNA as having said, “Reviewing the case has ended and the final verdict will be issued soon.”
He was asked whether the two men would be released during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but said he had not heard such “rumors.”
Last week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he hoped the two Americans would be freed, in what was seen at the time as the most positive signal yet that their ordeal may soon end.
Spying can be punishable by death in Iran but lawyer Masoud Shafiee, who is representing the two, has said there is no evidence against his clients and even if they are found guilty of illegally entering Iran, they should be freed due to the time they have already served.