SF learns: American hikers’ bail set, Clinton ‘encouraged’ (photos, video)
TEHRAN, Iran — Here in San Francisco local top news is on the American hikers still held in Iran. Now, according to local news station, KTVU Channel 2 News in San Francisco, an Iranian court has set their bail at $500,000 each.
San Francisco resident, Anne Witham, says, “I hope they can be set free soon.”
There has been much speculation as to whether the American hikers were being used as a bargaining chip. (See that article here: American hikers get 8 years, are they a bargaining chip? (photos, video))
The two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested over 2 years ago, along with a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, when they allegedly stepped over the border into Iran. Shourd was released on medical grounds. She currently lives in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco.
All three were charged with being spies, a charge all three strongly deny According to KTVU, the hikers say they may have accidentally crossed into Iran when they walked off a dirt road while hiking near a waterfall in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
Now the hikers may be released on a bail-for-freedom arrangement, says their lawyer, Masoud Shafiei. (See article here: Finally: American hikers may be released within days (photos, video))
The bail will have to be given through a third party, since there are currently economic sanctions against Iran by the United States.
KTVU Channel 2 News in San Francisco says that “the timing of the court’s decision is similar to last year’s bail deal mediated by the Gulf state of Oman that freed a third American, Sarah Shourd.”
After her release, Sarah Shourd was given a medical examination. (See that article here: Sarah Shourd, freed American hiker, gets medical exam (photos, video))
Sarah Shourd’s mother then made a statement after her daughter was let go. (See that article here: Sarah Shourd mother makes statement, American hiker released)
Shourd also recently appeared at a fundraiser at ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) in San Francisco.
“They accepted to set bail to release,” said Shafiei to The Associated Press. “The amount is the same for Sarah.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the NBC “Today” show that he thought the American hikers might be out “in a couple of days.” He told NBC that the bail offer was a “humanitarian gesture.” He then spoke of Iranians being held in U.S. prisons and asked that those prisoners also be given consideration.
See slideshow here of pictures of the three American hikers
What did U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton think of the possible release of the American hikers?
She told press that the US was “encouraged” by Ahmadinejad’s remarks.
“We obviously hope that we will see a positive outcome from what appears to be a decision by the government,” said Clinton.
Just last month, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both aged 29, were sentenced to three years each for illegal entry into Iran and another five years each for spying for the United States. (See that story here: Breaking: Iran sentences 2 American hikers to 8 years in jail (photos, video))
Both men appealed the sentences. Sarah Shourd’s case remains open.
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See photos and video on the left-hand side of this article.
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See these related articles by this Examiner on the American hikers in Iraq:
Finally: American hikers may be released within days (photos, video)
Sarah Shourd, American hiker released, who posted bail? (video)
Sarah Shourd mother makes statement, American hiker released
Iran releases American hiker Sarah Shourd, leaves Iran
Breaking: Iran sentences 2 American hikers to 8 years in jail (photos, video)