Three hikers to face spy trial in Iran

For those of you who’ve been following this now 4.5-month long story, a quick update: the three U.S. hikers who, according to the free world, accidentally crossed the border into Iran on July 31, will in fact be tried in Iran for espionage.

evinprisonHeld in the Evin prison in Tehran, the three Americans – Shane Bauer, 27; Sarah Shourd, 31; and Josh Fattal, 27 – have been visited by Swiss diplomats and are reportedly in good health.

Despite protests and requests from senior officials, as well as parents and friends, to release the seemingly innocent trio from prison and from Iran, the country’s foreign minister said today that the three would be put on trial given their “suspicious aims.”

According to Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, investigations concerning the three border-crossers are still in progress. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterates that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the three hikers were acting as spies.

It is widely assumed that Iran aims to use the three – talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time – as bargaining chips. As the world threatens tougher sanctions against Iran unless it stems its uranium enrichment plans, Iran thinks it may be able to negotiate a better deal for itself once it has “convicted spies” to bargain with.

Judicial proceedings in Iran tend to happen behind closed doors (unless they’re being aired on Iranian TV as a preventative example to others who are considering the protest of election fraud and the like), so chances are strong we’ll have little insight into the trial itself.

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