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(New York) – Amnesty International said today the release of two Americans held in Iran for more than two years was “long overdue” and urged that they be allowed to leave Iran promptly to be reunited with their families.
“All available evidence strongly suggests that the Iranian authorities have known all along that these men were not spies and should have been released,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is a welcome – if long overdue – step that the Iranian authorities have finally released Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. “They must now be allowed to leave Iran promptly to be reunited with their families.”
The two, who were arrested while hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area in July 2009, were detained in a Tehran prison for more than two years before a court recently sentenced them to eight years in prison for “illegal entry” and “espionage”.
The release came on the same day a 17-year old Iranian boy, convicted of killing an athlete, was publicly hanged in the city of Karaj, near Tehran. Amnesty International had called on the authorities to halt the execution, which is a gross breach of international law.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 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.