Iran Hopes to Issue Verdict on Detained Americans in July-TV

Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011 02:19 PM

 

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TEHRAN- Iran hopes to issue a verdict in the case of three Americans accused of espionage in late July, state television quoted a judiciary official as saying on Tuesday.

Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were arrested by Iranian forces on July 31, 2009, on suspicion of spying after crossing into Iran from Iraq.

Shourd, who was released on bail in September and returned home, has insisted the trio were innocent hikers who accidentally traversed an unmarked border into Iran.

Tehran Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said he hoped the next trial would be held in late July and that "the final decision over their case would be made then".

The U.S. State Department last month urged Iran, with which Washington has no relations, to quickly resolve the case.

The Americans' last hearing, scheduled for May 11, was postponed without a clear reason. Iranian authorities had called on Shourd to return to Tehran to stand trial alongside Fattal and Bauer.

Bauer and Fattal pleaded not guilty at a closed-door court hearing on Feb. 6. Under Iran's Islamic law, espionage can be punished by execution.

The case has further complicated relations between Tehran and Washington already fraught over Iran's nuclear activity.

Western powers suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic energy programme. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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