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Lawyer: Iran Will Announce US Hikers Verdict By Next Week

A picture released by Iran's state-run Press TV shows US hikers Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal, detained in Iran on spying charges, during the first session of their trial, February 6, 2011 (file photo)

The lawyer for the American hikers jailed in Iran on spying charges says the court will announce its verdict by next week.

Attorney Masoud Shafiei made the announcement after Iran held its final court hearing on the case Sunday, exactly two years since Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested on charges that they had illegally crossed into Iran from Iraq.

Shourd was released last September on bail for about half a million dollars and did not attend Sunday's hearing. Fattal and Bauer remain in Iranian custody. All three have denied the charges.

On Saturday the hikers' lawyer had said the fact the hearing coincided with the second anniversary of their arrest could indicate that Tehran intends to release them. He also suggested on Saturday that their two years in detention may serve as their sentence.

The state-run ISNA news agency also quoted Shafiei as saying his clients may be freed soon because their hearing coincides with the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. A Muslim tradition allows for prisoners to be pardoned at the start of Ramadan.

In other court news Sunday, Iranian state television says a woman who was blinded by an Iranian man in an acid attack has pardoned her attacker.

The woman was set to drop acid in his eyes as legal punishment for his crime when she said she forgave him and withdrew her right to blind him. The man had thrown acid at her in 2004 for rejecting his marriage proposal.

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

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