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Iran sentences 2 U.S. hikers to 8 years in jail

Iranian authorities sentence two Americans arrested and detained along the Iran-Iraq border to eight years in prison, state television cited an unnamed judicial source as saying.

August 20, 2011|By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
  • Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal have been held in prison for more than two years on charges of illegal entry onto Iranian territory and espionage.
Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal have been held in prison for more than two years… (AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from Beirut — Iranian authorities sentenced two Americans arrested and detained along the Iran-Iraq border to eight years in prison, state television cited an unnamed judicial source as saying on Saturday.

The men, who have already been held in prison for more than two years in Iran, have 20 days to appeal their convictions on charges of illegal entry onto Iranian territory and espionage.

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 28 years old, were arrested along the Iran-Iraq border during what they insist was an ill-fated hiking trip in the scenic mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iranian officials allege that the two men were spies, but have yet to publicly present any evidence. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail last year and has been campaigning for her friends' release. All three are Berkeley grads.

Their case was tried by a branch of the country's politically charged Revolutionary Court, which handles national security cases and has been accused of failing to abide by international or even Iranian standards of jurisprudence, especially when it comes to defendants' rights.

The two men's lawyer, Massoud Shafei, said he had not been officially informed of any sentence for his clients. He and the two men's supporters had hoped the men would be freed as a gesture of goodwill during the Islamic holy Month of Ramadan.

daragahi@latimes.com

Special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran contributed to this report.

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