Iran expects speedy trial of 3 American hikers
Associated Press

BEIRUT — Iran's foreign minister said Monday he expects a speedy trial for three American hikers who have been jailed since crossing the border from Iraq nearly five months ago.

Manouchehr Mottaki declined to specify what charges the Americans faced. Last month, Iran's chief prosecutor said the Americans are accused of spying.

"These Americans entered Iran illegally and with aims that arouse suspicions and doubts," Mottaki said at a press conference in Beirut on Monday.

"We expect appropriate sentences to be issued very soon," he added.

Josh Fattal, 27, along with Shane Bauer, 27, and Sarah Shourd, 31 — all graduates of the University of California at Berkeley — had been trekking in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region when they accidentally crossed the border, according to their families.

Wearing a headscarf, the mother of one of the hikers appealed last week in a video to the Islamic Republic's supreme leader to release her daughter and her friends for the holidays.

"Sarah, Shane and Josh are good people," Nora Shourd of Oakland, Calif., said in the video posted on a Web site dedicated to freeing the three. "They meant no harm to the Islamic Republic of Iran and respect your ancient and noble civilization. If they entered Iran, it was an innocent mistake."

The Americans' jailing comes amid a bitter standoff between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear pr... >>>

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