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Thursday 22 February 2018

US pair to fight prison term for spying in Iran

Mitra Amiri in Tehran

two americans convicted of spying in Iran are to appeal their eight-year sentence, their lawyer said yesterday.

Shane Bauer (28) and Josh Fattal (29) were arrested in 2009 on the border with Iraq, where they said they were hiking. They were found guilty of illegal entry and espionage and were sentenced on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed deep disappointment at the sentences. "We continue to call for their immediate release," she said.

The men's families echoed her call.

Mr Fattal and Mr Bauer, who were detained July 31, 2009, said they mistakenly wandered across the border from Iraq during a hiking trip.

The two men's detention is another point of contention between Iran and the US, which has accused the Persian Gulf country of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran rejected the claim and said it needed the technology to secure energy for its growing population.

In February 2010, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he might be ready to exchange the detainees for Iranians held in the US. The overture was dismissed by the State Department.

Irish Independent

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