x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Iran orders US hikers jailed for eight years

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were sentenced to three years for illegal entry, and five for espionage.

TEHRAN // Iran has sentenced two American hikers detained in the Islamic republic to eight years in prison on charges of "illegal entry" and "espionage," the state television website reported Saturday.

"According to an informed source with the judiciary, Shane Bauer... and... Josh Fattal, the two detained American citizens, have been each sentenced to three years in prison for illegal entry to the Islamic Republic of Iran," the website reported.

It further said that the two have separately been "sentenced to five years in prison on charges of espionage for the American intelligence agency."

The report added that "the case of Sarah Shourd, who has been freed on bail is still open."

The lawyer for the Americans, Masoud Shafii, told AFP that he had not been informed of any decision since their trial ended on July 31.

Bauer and Fattal, both 28, were arrested along with Sarah Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009, with the trio claiming they were hiking in Iraq's northern province of Kurdistan when they innocently strayed into the Islamic republic.

They have pleaded not guilty to spying charges.

Shourd is being tried in absentia after she returned to the United States when she was freed on humanitarian and medical grounds in September, paying bail of around 500,000 dollars.