23 August 2011

Amnesty calls for release of American hikers in Iran

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, two American hikers who were arrested by Iranian officials along the Iraq-Iran border in 2009, were recently sentenced to eight years in prison for spying and illegal entry into Iran.

Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with them, was released last year for medical reasons.

Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East Director, believes that their trial was not conducted in a fair manner.

"The conduct of this trial has quite simply made a mockery of justice. There does not appear to be any substance to the allegations that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are spies," said Smart. "The way this case has been handled from the outset strongly suggests that they are being held as a bargaining chip to allow Iran to obtain unspecified concessions from the US government."

Indeed, no evidence was presented in court to suggest that Bauer and Fattal are spies. And some eyewitnesses maintain that the hikers were inside Iraq, not Iran, at the time of their arrest. But it seems that Iran's court system is about as fair as those Guantanamo military tribunals.

Their lawyer is planning to appeal the sentence. Fingers crossed for justice.

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