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(New York) -- Amnesty International today repeated its demand that Iran release two Americans held for the past two years apparently for political reasons. On Sunday, two years to the day after their arrests, a fresh hearing is scheduled in the case of Shane Bauer and Josh Gattal, both 29.
The two men were arrested while hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area under circumstances that remain unclear, but the Iranian authorities have charged them with espionage and illegal entry.
A third American citizen arrested with the men, Sarah Shourd, was released last September on bail equivalent to $500,000 (U.S.).
"The Iranian authorities have held these men for two years, subjecting them to legal proceedings that fall far short of international fair trial standards," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program.
"The parody of justice must end here -- by now it seems clear that the Iranian authorities have no legal basis for continuing to hold these U.S. nationals, so they must be released and allowed to leave the country."
During their two-year detention in Tehran's Evin Prison, Bauer and Fattal have been been granted only one brief family visit, when their mothers visited Iran in May 2010. They have been denied adequate access to their lawyer and have had very limited access to consular assistance.
The Iranian authorities have ignored repeated appeals from the international community and the men's families to release them and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has hinted that the hikers were being held as a bargaining chip to be used in Iran's dealings with the United States.
Amnesty International has repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of Bauer and Fattal and has called publicly for their release.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.