Iran Sentences American Hikers

By: AP
By: AP

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Two American men arrested more than two
years ago along the Iraq-Iran border have been sentenced to eight
years in prison on charges that include espionage.

That word from Iranian state TV comes weeks after Iran's foreign minister suggested that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal (fuh-TAHL') could be released soon.

Authorities haven't confirmed the report, although it was carried on Iran's highly controlled state media, which is frequently used to make high-profile announcements.

In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman restated U.S.
appeals for their release, saying, "It is time to reunite them with their families."

A spokeswoman for the men's relatives said only that the families were aware of the report and awaiting confirmation.

The 29-year-old Americans, whose final court hearing was three
weeks ago, say they were only hiking in a scenic and largely
peaceful area of northern Iraq near the border.

They were detained in July 2009 along with a third American, Sarah Shourd (shurd), who was released last September on $500,000 bail and returned to the United States.

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