News / Middle East

New Delay in Case of US Hikers in Iran

Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal (file photo)
Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal (file photo)

The lawyer for two Americans jailed in Iran says their release has been delayed because a judge whose signature is needed is on leave.  

Masoud Shafiei said he was unable to complete the paperwork Sunday on the $1 million bail deal for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer because the second judge needed to sign the documents is on leave until Tuesday.  

One judge signed the documents Saturday. Two judges' signatures are needed to post the bail.

Last month, Iran gave Bauer and Fattal eight-year sentences on charges of spying and illegally entering the country.  

They were arrested on July 31, 2009, along with a third American, Sarah Shourd, who was freed on $500,000 bail last year and returned to the United States.  

The trio has always proclaimed their innocence and said they 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.

Iran's foreign minister has said the release of hikers would be a gesture of Islamic mercy. During a Saturday news conference, Ali Akbar Salehi also urged the U.S. to free Iranians held in U.S. prisons.

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

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