Iran Convicts US 'Hikers' as Spies

Iran has sentenced two American hikers detained in the Islamic republic to eight years in prison on charges of "illegal entry" and "espionage", reported Iran's state television website. (photo: AFP)

Iran Convicts US 'Hikers' as Spies

Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of illegal entry and espionage.

Iran has sentenced two American hikers detained in the Islamic republic to eight years in prison on charges of "illegal entry" and "espionage", reported Iran's state television website.

"According to an informed source with the judiciary, Shane Bauer... and... Josh Fattal, the two detained American citizens, have been each sentenced to three years in prison for illegal entry to the Islamic Republic of Iran," the website reported on Saturday.

It also stated that the two have separately been "sentenced to five years in prison on charges of espionage for the American intelligence agency".

The report added that "the case of Sarah Shourd, who has been freed on bail is still open".

The lawyer for the Americans, Masoud Shafii, told international news agancies he had not been informed of any decision since the trial ended on July 31.

Bauer and Fattal, both 28, were arrested along with Sarah Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009. The three claimed they were hiking in Iraq's northern province of Kurdistan when they innocently strayed into Iran.

They had earlier pleaded not guilty to spying charges, and now have 20 days to appeal the sentence.

Shourd is being tried in absentia. She returned to the United States after being freed on humanitarian and medical grounds in September, paying a bail of around $500,000.

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