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Iran Sentences U.S. Hikers to Eight Years in Prison

Freelance journalist Shane Bauer and environmentalist Josh Fattal have been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for trumped-up charges of espionage and illegal entry into the country. The men were arrested two years ago while hiking near the poorly defined border between Iran and Iraq. Southern California native Sarah Shourd was also arrested, but has since been released.

The men’s families released a short statement yesterday, which reads in part:

Of the 751 days of Shane and Josh’s imprisonment, yesterday and today have been the most difficult for our families. Shane and Josh are innocent and have never posed any threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran, its government or its people.

The three hikers have strong California ties. Shroud grew up in Los Angeles, and lived in San Francisco after graduating from college. Bauer has written for the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. All are alumni of UC Berkeley.

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