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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Iran Convicts U.S. Hikers, branding as 'spies'!


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Ramin Setoodeh, thedailybeast.com / Jul 30, 2011 9:23 AM EDT.

Aug 20, 2011 1:15 PM EDT — In a move that could further strain relations between the two countries, two American hikers who have been detained for two years for crossing the Iranian border have been sentenced to eight years in prison for being "spies." Ramin Setoodeh talked to their friends and family during the trial.

After two years in prison, the U.S. hikers charged with espionage head to their final trial on Sunday. Ramin Setoodeh talks to their friends and families about their chances of returning.

Update: The two Americans who have been imprisoned in Iran since 2009 have been sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage and crossing an unmarked border, according to a news report from Iran.
Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were taken into custody while vacationing in Iraq two summers ago, after they got lost in the mountains and wandered into Iran. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released last year on $500,000 bail. Even before the verdict was announced, the families of the hikers told Newsweek they would appeal a decision that didn't bring their sons home immediately.
"To our many supporters: we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your messages of support!" the family wrote on their Twitter account, upon announcement of the verdict. "What we need now more than ever is your support in getting Shane & Josh released. Peaceful communication is MOST supportive to us during this intensely challenging time, especially as it honors the values that Sarah, Shane and Josh hold so dear."
The men have now served 750 days in prison, compared to the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 which lasted 444 days.

Laura Fattal has written 728 letters to her son Josh, one for each day that he’s been held in an Iranian prison. “Grandma turned 85 seven months ago, but she’s also waiting for you to celebrate,” she wrote to him on June 4, Josh’s 29th birthday. “Just as they did last year, she and Grandpa have sent us a birthday card and gift for you. They’re waiting at the house, unopened, for your return.”
Al Bauer has two years of Christmas presents stored in his closet for his son Shane. Since 2009, he’s only had a single 90-second phone conversation with his son, when Shane called him unexpectedly at work. “I’ve done a lot of crying,” Al says. “I just want to be able to hold him.”
By next week, he might finally be able to do that.

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