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Ahmadinejad: Iran to free US nationals as a humanitarian gesture

14 September 2011 3:37

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says two US nationals who were convicted of spying for the US will be released in a couple of days as a humanitarian gesture.

President Ahmadinejad made the announcement in an interview with the NBC news channel on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the lawyer for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, Masoud Shafiee, said that a court has set a bail of $500,000 for each of them, adding that the two will be freed when the bail is paid.

“The families of the two Americans and the Swiss embassy, as the representative of US interests in Tehran, were informed of this matter today,” Shafiee said.

Bauer, Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested on Iranian territory in July 2009 after illegally crossing the border from the mountains of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

The three were charged with espionage after Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi found “compelling evidence” that the three US citizens had actually been cooperating with US intelligence agencies.

Iran released Shourd on a bail of $500,000 in September 2010, 14 months after her arrest. The decision was made based on humanitarian grounds.

In August, Iran sentenced Bauer and Fattal to eight years in prison.

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