Saturday, August 20, 2011

Iran Sentences Two Americans to Eight Years in Prison

Long Sentences After Indications the Two Would Be Freed in Ramadan

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal arrested more than two years ago while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border have been sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage and illegally entering Iran [IRIB, 20 August].

Earlier this month, Iran’s foreign minister had suggested that the two Americans would be sentenced to time served and would be freed during the holy month of Ramadan, cruelly raising hopes of their parents and friends and relatives in the US.

Bauer and Fattal deny the charges and say they were only hiking in a scenic and largely peaceful Kurdish region of Iraq, then mistakenly crossed into Iran when they stepped off a dirt road near a waterfall. They were detained in July 2009 along with a third American, Sarah Shourd, who was released in September 2010 on $500,000 bail and returned home.

The Iranian attorney of the two Americans, Masoud Shafiei, said he has not been notified of the verdict but he will definitely appeal the sentence if true.

“I've not been notified of any verdict in the case of my clients,” Shafiei told The Associated Press. "This is a strong verdict inconsistent with the charges."

The US said today it was trying to confirm an Iranian TV report that two were jailed for eight years and reiterated its call for their release.

“We have repeatedly called for the release of Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, who have now been held in Iran's Evin prison for two years. Shane and Josh have been imprisoned too long, and it is time to reunite them with their families,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, there are plenty of Iranians unfairly jailed in America. For example, Reza Banki was a Princeton PhD graduate who worked for a top consulting firm (McKinsey) and who was jailed for years simply because he wanted to move his family's money from Iran to the United States. His case is on appeal but he has been in jail for many years. He's just one example.

So while I feel bad for these two, who do not seem like they were spies, I don't find it any worse than what other countries do to Iranians.

Nader Uskowi said...

Tell that to the family of Bauer and Fattal that they need to suffer because of injustices elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Try seeing it from a justice system perspective.

Americans.. wandering into Iran from a war zone !

who cares what they claim ... did aqnyone care what the Iranians in the US claimed ??

Anonymous said...

The point is there are no stories about Banki on your blog.

Anonymous said...

This primitive regime has got nothing else to do but act like a clown and make fools of themselves in front of the entire world so that they can satisfy their hypocritical desires.

Kemjika said...

Too bad US-Iranian relation have gotten this bad AND stayed this bad.US and Iran both have legitimate claims to missing/detained citizens. The US needs to answer the question as to how Asgari, an Iranian general, dissapeared in Turkey. The US needs answers on the missing FBI agent who went missing off kish island. Iran is a regional power with ever increasing power(partly due to an actual weakening of US power in the world)so it has the leverage currently to play a little "dirty'(if you think the charges are bs and justice is them getting freedom immediately).The US has put alot of harsh sanctions on Iran, and Iran, just like any regular person, will use retaliation.The US still needs Iranian help to depart peacefully from iraq.

mat said...

The term ' one is innocent until proven guilty ' is just definitely correct. But, what if those U.S.'s hikers found to be guilty ?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that these so-called hikers aren't getting much sympathy from ordinary Americans. Many perceive them as fools. Who crosses into a sensitive border area, where terrorism (PJAK) and smuggling is a big concern? Who even goes close?

But these college educated persons are fools.

That they crossed into this sensitive area taking photos and carrying a cell phone appears to have been enough evidence that these persons from a highly hostile foreign country are guilty of espionage.

Yes, this is what you tell the families of those persons, Nader.

And then you tell the families that if their country's leaders somehow become less hostile, and offer a lessoning of the economic warfare being directed against the ordinary people of Iran, then there's the possibility these persons could be released early.

Anonymous said...

Of course these people are innocent and the Iranian government is just screwing them around from ugly and small motives, but let's not have any special sympathy for innocent Americans.
They aren't getting treated any worse than the mockery that is the Iranian justice system treats Iranian citizens or anybody else.
Heck these guys probably aren't even going to be raped and murdered in prison.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 5:14 PM,

“And then you tell the families that if their country's leaders somehow become less hostile, and offer a lessoning of the economic warfare being directed against the ordinary people of Iran, then there's the possibility these persons could be released early.”

I am so sorry to see that hostage taking is becoming part of normal conversation in the country.

Anonymous said...

Mr Nader Uskowi as you know this regime has used hostage taking as its main foreign policy since its inception.
Do not be surprised by some regime apologists on this forum they only reflect their unscrupulous behaviour.

The Realist.

Anonymous said...

Hostage taking?

Was Roxana Saberi a hostage? No. She was caught red-handed with a classified defense document. But when it looked like there might be an improvement in the US position towards Iran, she was released as a show of goodwill.

But for that show of goodwill, Iran got nothing.

So maybe the same will happen for these so-called hikers. Maybe not. We'll just have to see.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:59 PM
Yes hostage taking you know forceful abduction and blackmail for political gain.
Those hikers will be released after Regime realizes they made asses of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 9:59 PM

a few more for you to explain to us.

Zahra Karemi

Mohsen Ruholamini

Mohsen Ruhal Amini

Amir Javadifar

Mohammed Kamrani

Taraneh Mousavi

Pouya Maghsoud Baygi,

Anonymous said...

Taraneh Mousavi? You're aware that was proven to be a "Green hoax," right?

Anonymous said...

anon 10:28

your names missing !

Gifted one said...

This incident, unpalatable as it may appear, is largely, if not wholly, political in nature, and if there is one aspect of US-Iranian relations that we should all understand by now it is that political considerations trump justice, legality, and rationality.

As you constantly remind us in respect of the nuclear issue, it is not about Iran's rights as guaranteed by international law, it is about the politics of US-Iranian relations. So why the double-talk? if the US can hold the entire Iranian nation hostage for the sake of politics, why feign surprise when the Iranian political establishment chooses to return the favour albeit in this limited capacity?

I don't know whether the kids are spies or not, but evidently the judicial processes in both the US and Iran can be manipulated to serve political gamesmanship.
In this Iran and the US are much more similar than they would ever care to admit.

Anonymous said...

By the way, notice that poor Mr. Banki's plight is such that no political entity is incentivized to help him - even though his imprisonment is completely unfair.

Iran's government is probably happy that he is in jail, as it dissuades others who expatriate and try to take their money out of Iran.

MKO/AIPAC etc. are too embarrassed to point out an innocent person who got swallowed up in their political battles with Iran.

He is a true "badbakht" although I personally followed his case and feel bad for him.

Nader Uskowi said...

Gifted One,

I agree with your analysis here wholeheartedly. I have not said anything regarding this subject otherwise. This kids are victimized because of political reasons, and politicizing all issues by both US and Iran in their relationships have unfortunately become a way of life.

Anonymous said...

Were you not so sure that Roxana Saberi was innocent? So what makes you think these hikers are not guilty.

Steve said...

In my view, those sentences are completely unfair. I'm sure those youngsters only strayed by accident into Iranian territory.
But I understand Iran. Those hikers are 1.) American (enemies) and 2.) jewish (double enemies).
The jewish/neoconservative dominated US (and israeli) governments of the last 10 years have killed close to 2 million muslims.
Now guess, how much is a little jewish american life worth in the eyes of an Iranian judge ?

Anonymous said...

Dear, the judges don't really do the judging in a situation such as this. The judiciary isn't independent, they're the Ayatollah's boys.