Family, Activists Urge Iran to Free US Hikers

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Family members and rights activists made fresh appeals for Iran to free two U.S. hikers on Friday, two days before Tehran holds what it calls the “final” hearing in their case.

Iran has held Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer on charges of spying for two years. Iranian authorities allege the two men and a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, illegally crossed into the country from Iraq. The trio denied the charges.

Al Bauer said Friday that if there is “fairness in Iran's legal system,” then the release of his son and Fattal is “close at hand.” His comments were in a statement released by family members ahead of a New York rally for the hikers.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International urged Iran to free the men, saying they had apparently been held so long for “political reasons.” In a Friday statement, an official with the rights group called for an end to what she described as a “parody of justice.”

In June, the hikers' Iranian lawyer announced that Tehran had set the July 31st court date. The hearing falls on the second anniversary of the hikers' arrest.

Shourd was released last September on bail for about half a million dollars.