US `deeply disappointed over Iran hikers` sentence

Iran has sentenced two American hikers to 8 years in prison each for illegal entry and espionage.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said on Sunday she was "deeply disappointed" over the
eight-year prison sentence given to two Americans who have
said they had strayed unwittingly into Iran.

"We are deeply disappointed that Iranian judicial
authorities have sentenced Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal to
eight years in prison," Clinton said.

"We continue to call and work for their immediate release
-- it is time for them to return home and be reunited with
their families."

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi on Sunday
confirmed that Iran has sentenced two American hikers to eight
years in prison each for illegal entry and espionage, Iranian
media reported.

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 29, were arrested with
fellow American Sarah Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border
between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009. Shourd was freed on
medical grounds in September and returned to the United

The trio claim they were hiking in Iraq`s northern
province of Kurdistan when they innocently strayed into the
Islamic republic.

Clinton added in her statement that: "I join President
Obama and the people of the United States in expressing our
unflagging support for Shane, Joshua, Sarah and their families
during this difficult time."

Washington has vehemently denied Tehran`s charge that the
three were spies and has repeatedly called on Iran to release
Bauer and Fattal.

But Iran`s Jafari Dolatabadi said Sunday that charges of
illegal entry and espionage against the American hikers had
been "proven" in the court, the official IRNA news agency


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