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Attorney of three Americans detained in Iran refutes espionage charges

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Massoud Shafii, defense attorney to the three imprisoned Americans in Iran, maintained that "espionage" charges against his clients are completely unfounded and insisted that their only offence is "illegal" entry through the border.

Josh Fattal (left), Sarah Shourd, and Shane Bauer (courtesy of

Last Thursday, Heydar Moslehi, Iran's Minister of Intelligence, announced that the three detained Americans were "collaborating" with US intelligence services.

Massoud Shafii told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: "I have spoken with the case judge and the charge in the case is specifically "illegal border crossing." We do not have any new laws for illegal border crossing and therefore, the old process will have to be observed in which a cash penalty is stipulated."

The defense attorney added that Islamic Republic authorities have been using the espionage charge against his clients "incorrectly."

He also went on to say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks on exchange of prisoners "does not have positive connotations" because it suggests "hostage taking."

Mr. Shafii maintained that after eight months of persistence the three detainees were finally allowed to get in touch with their families but judicial authorities refuse to allow him access to his clients.

Shane Bauer, Jashua Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested by Iranian border officials last August for "illegal" entry into Iranian territory through the Iraq border.

Iran has announced on several occasions that the Americans will be tried for the charge of "espionage."

In an open letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the mothers of these detainees have urged him to allow them to obtain a visa in order to travel to Iran and visit their children.

US authorities have rejected all charges of espionage suggested against these three US nationals and announced that the Islamic Republic has provided them with no evidence to indicate the three were involved in any form of "espionage."

... Payvand News - 04/11/10 ... --

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