General Crime

* Shane Bauer and Josh Fatal Released From Iranian Prison Today

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Iran’s official Press TV has reported that two U.S. hikers who have been detained in Iran since 2009 were released early this morning. The two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years were reportedly released around 4:30 a.m. PST. The state TV’s website said in a statement released by Iran’s Judiciary, an appeals court agreed to reduce the detention sentences of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, and release them on $500,000 bail each.

Bauer, Fattal, and a third UC Berkeley graduate, Sarah Shourd, were arrested on July 31, 2009, after embarking on a hike in Iraq’s Kurdistan region near the Iranian border. Iran has accused them of espionage, but the hikers and their families say they aren’t spies but instead were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran.

Iran released Shourd, 32, who is engaged to Bauer, last September because she was in poor health.  The Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran and has been acting as an intermediary, according to U.S. State Department officials.

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