MSN.com reported today that Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, intends to release U.S. hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal ”in a couple of days,” in what he called a “humanitarian gesture.” Ahmadinejad made the remark about Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal in a one-on-one interview with Ann Curry that was broadcast on NBC’s TODAY on Tuesday. “They illegally crossed our borders,” Ahmadinejad told Curry. “And they were arrested by the border guards. And all countries have laws for illegal border-crossing. They have very tough laws. We have the same laws here in the country.”
Citing defense lawyer Masoud Shafiei, the Associated Press later reported that Iran had set bail of $500,000 for the two men. He said the court would free Bauer and Fattal after the money was paid. A third American, Sarah Shourd, arrested along with the men, returned to the United States after she was released on $500,000 bail in September 2010. The hikers had been accused of being “spies.” Under Iranian law,espionage can carry the death penalty. Bauer, Fattal and Shourd insisted they were hiking in northern Iraq when they inadvertently strayed over the border into Iran in July 2009. Their trial took place behind closed doors and no evidence against the hikers has been made public.
More of Curry’s interview with Ahmadinejad will air Tuesday on NBC’s Nightly News. The video can be viewed at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44498976#44498976
The complete article was published by: NBC, msnbc.com and news services updated 9/13/2011 10:06:41 AM ET2011-09-13T14:06:41
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.