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Iran to prosecute US detainees in Nov.

Iran is set to begin prosecution of two Americans charged with unlawful entry into Iran and espionage in a very near future, their lawyer Masoud Shafii says.

The lawyer for the two detained US natives announced that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer will be tried on November 6 on spying and illegal entry charges.

“It is true that on November 6 their trial will start at 10:00 a.m. (0630 GMT),” AFP quoted Shafii as saying early Wednesday.

Last month, Iran released a female American detainee, Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with the two men, on a $500,000 bail.

The Tehran-based attorney said that he had informed the families of the three US citizens of the trial date and that it was up to Shourd and her family whether she wants to return to Iran and attend the trials.

“If she is not present, it will hurt her bail. I cannot request that she be present. It is up to them to decide. I, as a lawyer, have only informed them of the time of the trial and I will execute my duty to defend the three,” Shafii continued.

Earlier in October, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said that Shourd was released due to Islamic clemency, considering her illness and willingness to post the bond. He added that she is expected to return to Iran for her trial if required by law.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced early Wednesday that she had been informed of the date of the trial through the trio’s lawyer in Tehran.

Bauer and Fattal, both 27, along with the 31-year-old Shourd, were arrested on Iranian territory in July 2009 after illegally crossing the border from the mountains of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

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

The US has detained several Iranian nationals on charges of violating the US-imposed sanctions against Iran.

Contrary to the harsh treatment of Iranians in US custody, the three American detainees have been treated well despite the fact that they face very serious charges.

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