Trial Begins for Detained UC Hikers

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Correction Appended

Following almost 18 months of detainment, UC Berkeley alumni Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal entered not guilty pleas on Sunday to charges of espionage and illegally entering Iran.

Bauer and Fattal, along with Bauer's fiancee Sarah Shourd, were stopped by border police when hiking along the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009. Shourd was released in September with a $500,000 bail on humanitarian grounds after she found a lump in her left breast, but the two men remain detained in Iran. At Sunday's trial, Shourd submitted a statement in her defense, according to The New York Times.

In a statement released Monday, Fattal and Bauer's families said that they were "pleased that Shane and Josh have had the opportunity to explain their innocence to the court and hope that the Iranian authorities will now move to resolve their case so that they finally can come home after 18 months of detention, isolation and

uncertainty."

The case was postponed Sunday because Shourd was absent, but according to the attorney for all three hikers, Masoud Shafii, it may be better for her to remain in the United States.

"I don't think Sarah will come to trial, next time," he said. "I think if she comes to trial, it is not good."

Shafii said that he is expecting the next court date to be the final date for the three hikers and that they will be found innocent. He added that he thinks the next court date will be scheduled within a month.

The families of Bauer and Fattal said in a statement they also hope that the trial will soon come to an end following the next court date.

"Now that the court has heard their testimony first hand, we hope and pray that truth and justice will at long last prevail," they said in the statement. "In the meantime, we continue to worry terribly about their well-being after such a lengthy detention."

Tags: SHANE BAUER, SARAH SHOURD, IRANIAN HIKERS, JOSH FATTAL, IRAN-IRAQ BORDER

Correction: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
A previous version of this article stated that the detained hikers' families released a statement Tuesday. In fact, it was released Monday.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Victoria Pardini covers Berkeley communities. Contact her at [email protected]



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