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Iran Frees US Hikers

Source: VOA

Iran has released two American hikers who were detained in 2009 on charges of spying. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal walked out of an Iranian prison on Wednesday after a judge approved an order for their release. A car from the Swiss Embassy waited for them in the prison grounds. They were released after posting $1 million bail.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal in prison uniforms
Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal in a Tehran court in February

Their release was reported by Iran's Press TV. The U.S. television network CNN said a U.S. State Deprtment official confirmed the release.

The hiker's attorney, Masoud Shafiei, said they would be turned over to Swiss authorities in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests in the country. Oman said it has provided an aircraft that is at the Tehran airport waiting to take them from the country.

The move follows days of delays as the two men waited for a second judge to return from leave and sign the paperwork.

In August, Tehran sentenced Bauer and Fattal to eight years in prison on spying convictions, saying they had illegally crossed into the country from Iraq.

The hikers were arrested in 2009 along with a third American, Sarah Shourd. She was freed on $500,000 bail last year and returned to the United States.

The three Americans have always said they are innocent, and were hiking in the mountains of northern Iraq while on vacation.

They said that if they crossed the unmarked border into Iran, it was by mistake.

... Payvand News - 09/21/11 ... --

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