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Iran Frees Germans Detained in Stoning Case

Iran has freed two German journalists who were detained in October after they interviewed the son of a woman who was sentenced to death by stoning.

Iranian and German officials say Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch were released from prison Saturday and handed over to German consular officials.

Earlier Saturday, Iranian state media reports said the Islamic Revolution Court had reduced the sentences for the two men from 20 months in prison to fines of $50,000 each. The reports said the Germans had been sentenced to prison for national security violations but their sentences were reduced under "Islamic compassion."

Iranian authorities arrested the Germans in October on charges they entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain the proper journalistic credentials.

The German weekly Bild am Sonntag said two of its employees had traveled to Iran to investigate the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Her case sparked international outrage after Iran sentenced her to death by stoning in an adultery case. Iranian authorities have since put her case on hold.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.