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Iran sets date for hearing of American hikers

Tue 21 June 2011 07:38 GMT | 12:38 Local Time
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Two years have passed since Iranian authorities arrested three US hikers on charges of illegally crossing into the country from Iraq and spying.

The Iranian lawyer for three American hikers accused of spying in Iran said Monday the Tehran government has informed him of the date for his clients' new court hearing.  

Nearly two years have passed since Iranian authorities arrested three US hikers on charges of illegally crossing into the country from Iraq and spying.  One of the hikers, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail last year.  The other two hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, are still in Iranian custody.

Masoud Shafiei, the lawyer for the hikers, says Iranian authorities have set the next court appearance for the three Americans. Shafiei told VOA he received notification from the Revolutionary Court that the hearing will be on July 31, the second anniversary of the hikers' arrest.

Shafiei says that although previous judicial documents specifically requested Shourd's presence in court, Monday's notification did not tell him to ensure she attends the trial.

Iranian officials delayed the trial in May, when authorities failed to transfer Fattal and Bauer from prison to court.

Iranian media on Monday announced that the country's Press TV would air what it called "confessions" from the hikers later this week.

But the hikers' defense attorney says his clients have not confessed to the charges.

He jokingly said he does not know where Press TV got its information or whether those at the station are lawyers or judges.  He added that he is hopeful the hikers will be freed.

The families of the hikers say the charges are baseless.  US authorities have repeatedly called for Fattal and Bauer to be released.

Voice of Ameriсa

 

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