Mom of US hiker jailed in Iran expects Nov trial

The mother of one of two American hikers still jailed in Iran has said that she`s been told they will stand trial in November and that she`s relieved they will get to formally deny the espionage charges against them.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2010, 10:10 AM IST

Minneapolis: The mother of one of two American hikers still jailed in Iran has said that she`s been told they will stand trial in November and that she`s relieved they will get to formally deny the espionage charges against them.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remain in Tehran`s Evin Prison more than a month after the release of Bauer`s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, who was freed after complaining of health
problems.

Bauer`s mother, Cindy Hickey of Minnesota said a Tehran- based lawyer representing the hikers` families told them recently that her son and Fattal would stand trial November 6.

"You don`t know how anxiously we`re awaiting that trial," Hickey said. "The idea that there`s a trial at all is totally ridiculous, because these guys are not guilty of any crime.
But at least it`s a sign that things are moving."

The families say Bauer and Shourd, who had been living in Syria, were hiking with their visiting friend Fattal in July 2009 in northern Iraq`s Kurdistan region, near the Iranian
border, when Iranian forces took them into custody and accused them of intentionally crossing it.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday renewed the US request that the hikers be released.

"There are many areas where we need to be discussing matters between the United States and Iran that are of great significance to not only our two countries but the world," she
said. "And it`s unfortunate that Iran would be holding for now more than a year two young men who should be released and returned to their families."

Earlier yesterday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington that he didn`t have any information on a trial date.

But he added: "Our position`s obviously well known on this matter. We believe that they`ve done nothing wrong and that they should be released immediately."

Hickey said she and other family members have provided their attorney with much information to rebut the spying charges, which Hickey has called particularly ludicrous given that Bauer was a freelance journalist for left-wing publications critical of US foreign policy.

PTI