Iran Sets Hearing Date for American Hikers

Posted June 20th, 2011 at 1:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The Iranian lawyer for the three Americans hikers accused of spying says Iran has set their next court hearing on July 31.

Masoud Shafii told VOA he received an official notification of the court date on Monday. The hearing falls on the second anniversary of the hikers' arrest.

Iranian authorities arrested Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer in 2009 on charges of illegally crossing into the country from Iraq.

Shourd was released on bail last year, but her two companions remain in prison. Since being freed, Shourd has said that prison guards abused and assaulted Fattal and Bauer.

Last week, Iran's chief prosecutor said their trial would resume during the court's summer session, which runs from late June to late August.

Iranian state-run media quoted Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that he hopes the courts will make a final decision then as to the hikers' futures. He also rejected the claims that the two hikers who remain in Iranian custody are being abused.

Iranian authorities have provided only limited access to Fattal and Bauer.

In May, authorities allowed the two men to call their families — for just the third time since their 2009 arrest. The mothers of the two men said they sounded well during the calls, which lasted less than five minutes.