Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities to release two US citizens apparently held for political reasons for nearly two years, as their flawed trial is set to resume on 11 May.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested while they were hiking in the Iraq-Iran border area on 31 July 2009. The exact circumstances of their arrest remain unclear, but the Iranian authorities have charged them with espionage and illegal entry.
A third US citizen arrested with the men, Sarah Shourd, was released in September 2010 on US$500,000 bail.
“The facts surrounding the hikers’ arrest are disputed, and Iran’s justice system has systematically failed to observe international fair trial standards in this case, including giving the men adequate contact with their lawyer, families or consular assistance,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.