November 9, 2009

(Updated) Espionage Charges for American Hikers?

Reuters is reporting that the three Americans who crossed into Iran while hiking in Iraq are being charged with espionage.

“The three are charged with espionage. Investigations continue into the three detained Americans in Iran,” Tehran general prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.
The three were held after they strayed into Iran from northern Iraq at the end of July.
The three, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, crossed into Iranian territory nearly two months ago. Their families say they strayed across the border accidentally.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested in an interview with the American television network NBC in September that the Americans’ release might be linked to the release of Iranian diplomats he said were being held by U.S. troops in Iraq.
Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, espionage is punishable by death.”

Important update (h/t Sanaz): According to IRNA, the hikers are “accused” of espionage, not charged. Tehran’s prosecutor said “investigations about these three people continue and an opinion will be issued soon…”

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