Wrongfully jailed American hikers released from Irani prison

by Alister POOLE on September 22, 2011

A pair of US citizens convicted as spies and imprisoned in Iran were released today and emotionally reunited with relatives and friends.

Mr Shane Bauer and Mr Josh Fattal, both aged 29, were flown to nearby Oman after being released on bail from Tehran’s Evin prison. The two were each handed a sentence of eight years in September 2009 on charges of spying. It was just after crossing the border with Iraq into Iran, which they claimed they were hiking over, that they were arrested.

At a press conference to coincide with their arrival in Muscat, the Omani capital, Mr Fattal said that both of them were so happy and relieved to be free after spending two years in jail despite having done nothing wrong.

Mr Bauer added that two years in prison was too long while telling of his sincere hopes for the freedom of all political prisoners and those unjustly imprisoned people across America and Iran. Waiting for them full of glee was Sarah Shourd, aged 32, a third American who was hiking with the two released when they were arrested, as well as relatives and other close friends.

Analysts predict that the move from Tehran will go a long way to healing strained ties with Washington DC, which has constantly been critical of its Middle Eastern counterpart over the imprisonment of three of their citizens and other incidents.

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