Hikers' trial could resume in few weeks

Feb. 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM
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TEHRAN, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The trial of three U.S. hikers charged with spying in Iran was expected to resume in the next few weeks, the hikers' lawyer and a Swiss diplomat said.

The trial of Shane Bauer, 28, Josh Fattal, 28, and Sarah Shourd, 32, charged with espionage and trespassing, began Sunday.

They were detained July 31, 2009, after Iran claimed the three strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Shourd was released on bail in September because of a medical condition; Iranian authorities said she will be tried in absentia if she doesn't appear in court.

The Swiss ambassador to Iran, who represents American interests in the country, told CNN the trial likely would resume in weeks, not months.

"It's going to be soon," Ambassador Livia Lea Agosti said. "It's not going to be another three-month wait."

Masoud Shafii, representing the hikers, said he thought the trial would begin within two or three weeks, but told CNN Monday he wasn't certain about when.

Shafii said he was denied permission to see Bauer and Fattal Saturday but said review of the case file showed no evidence of a crime.

"In my opinion, they haven't done anything wrong," Shafii told CNN. "The accusation of spying is baseless, and if they trespassed into Iran, it wasn't their fault."

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