Trial For Hikers Detained In Iran Postponed
The start of the trial of three Americans charged with spying on Iran has been postponed because one of them has not been summoned to return to the country to appear in court, Iran’s judiciary spokesman said Monday (Nov. 1).
Sarah Shourd was freed on bail in September after nearly 14 months in a Tehran prison and returned to the United States. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in prison. Their trial was expected to begin on Saturday but has been delayed according to the Associated Press.
The three Americans were reportedly hiking in July 2009 in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region near the Iranian border, when Iranian forces took them into custody and accused them of intentionally crossing over.
The initial accusation of illegal border crossing was later raised to espionage charges. The U.S. government says the three are innocent.
A spokesman for the Iranian government says the trials have been delayed because Shourd hasn’t yet been legally summoned.
Earlier, Iran warned that it will seize the $500,000 bail posted by Shourd if she does not return for trial.
Shourd, who has not disclosed any plans to return to Iran, said in an interview published Sunday in The New York Times that the three stepped off an unmarked dirt road and inadvertently crossed from Iraq only because a border guard of unknown nationality gestured for them to approach.
Shourd’s fiancee Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal will continue to be detained in the prison in Tehran.