Jailed Hikers Will Be Released 'In A Couple Of Days' Says Iranian President

//joshua fattal hiker

Sep. 13 2011, Published 10:00 a.m. ET

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By Staff

The two American hikers who have been jailed in Iran since 2009 could be released to freedom within days, has learned.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were sentenced to eight years for espionage and illegal entry last month after they were seized while hiking in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq two years ago.

In an interview with NBC's Ann Curry on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the imminent release "a humanitarian gesture."

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"They illegally crossed our borders, and they were arrested by the border guards, but we tried last year to free one of the three persons, and we are also trying to make arrangements for their freedom, for the freedom of the other two," explained the President.

"I think these two persons will be freed in a couple of days."

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Ahmadinejad went on to explain that they were being well treated despite their detainment, and were receiving "very good conditions here in prison ... it's like staying in a hotel."

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In return, Ahmadinejad has reportedly asked for the release of Iranians who are being held in U.S. prisons.

Fattal and Bauer will finally be set free after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them, explained their attorney, Masoud Shafiee, and their families are trying to raise the money, reported

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A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, who is now Bauer's fiancee, was released last year for medical reasons but her case remains open.

The trio was incarcerated after they accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran, they were quickly arrested and accused of being spies, and of entering the country illegally.

The Tehran Prosecutor's office had said it had "compelling evidence" that the three were cooperating with U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran's state-run Press TV reported.



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