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Iran Sentences Americans To Eight Years In Jail For Espionage, Illegal Entry

Shane Bauer (left) and Josh Fattal in a Tehran court in February
Shane Bauer (left) and Josh Fattal in a Tehran court in February
The chief Iranian prosecutor has confirmed eight-year jail sentences for two U.S. citizens arrested along the Iran-Iraq border nearly two years ago.

Local state-run news agencies report that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were given three years for "illegal entry" into the country and five additional years on charges of "espionage."

Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted as saying the two have 20 days to appeal. It is not immediately clear if the sentences include time served.

A third American arrested with the pair, Sarah Shourd, has yet to receive a verdict.

Shourd, Bauer's fiancee, was released on $500,000 bail on medical grounds in September 2010 and is now in California.

Earlier, the Americans' lawyer, Masud Shafii, had expressed hope for the release of his clients after Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on August 6 he hoped the trial of Bauer and Fattal would lead to their "freedom."

Bauer, Fattal, and fellow U.S. citizen Sarah Shourd were apprehended by Iranian guards near the unmarked border with Iraq in July 2009.

Sarah Shourd
The three pleaded not guilty at a closed-door hearing on February 6, saying they strayed into Iranian territory by mistake while hiking in a scenic area in northern Iraq.

They had been awaiting a verdict following another trial hearing on July 31.

U.S. officials have dismissed any suggestions that the three Americans were spies.

The case has added to tensions between the United States and Iran that were already high over other issues, including Tehran's disputed nuclear program. The two countries have no direct diplomatic relations, so Washington has been relying on an interests section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to follow the case.

In June, relatives of the two men alleged their loved ones were being subjected to psychological torture, physical abuse, and a lack of due process in Iran.

In May, U.S. boxing legend Muhammad Ali and several other prominent U.S. Muslims sent a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatolah Ali Khamenei saying that the men should be released on the basis of compassion and kindness “following the example of Prophet Muhammad.”

with agency reports
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by: Andreas Moser from: London, UK
August 20, 2011 17:35
Having spent some time in an Iranian prison as a foreigner myself (http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/reports-about-my-trip-to-iran-in-junejuly-2009/), I feel terribly sorry for these guys!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 20, 2011 19:04
I mean, of course, the guys were just hiking in Iraq (probably before that they had been hiking in Somalia or in Afghanistan somewhere). Yeah, what's the problem? Lots of people go to hike in those places, to look for mushrooms there or something. And then, of course, 'cos the scenary is so similar in Iraq and Iran (and even the name of the countries are similar) they just did not notice when they accidentally entered the Iranian territory. Could just have happened to anyone, right ? :-)))))))

by: Marine from: USA
August 20, 2011 22:44
"illegal entry" into Iran??? How many Iranians entered the USA since 1979 illegally considering that the US has no diplomatic relations with Iran?

by: Andrew from: Prague
August 21, 2011 11:58
Eugenio, I have to agree with you....Iraq is one of the SAFEST places to vist for AMERICANS and I am sure getting a visa there just for hiking is soo EASY.

There is something definitely wrong with this picture.....

by: Andrew Sampson from: uk
August 21, 2011 20:41
Suggested reading
http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/prisoners-and-injustice/free-shane-and-josh.html

by: a k ryan from: Thailand
August 22, 2011 03:43
They were convicted of the wrong charge. Eight years is about right for being utterly stupid. Look at the sentence as a chance to earn a PhD in common sense. In addition the bimbo got released on bail claiming PTSD and fled the lovely country of Iran thus throwing her comrades further under the bus. She looks pretty well adjusted bopping around the safe old USA and trying her "hardest" to get attention for herself. I can hardly wait for her book. I'll read it as soon as I finish Bristol Palin's masterpiece.

by: Winston from: Canada
August 22, 2011 16:38
No sympathy for the anti-American, anti-war activists... Sorry guys. You did this to yourselves

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