Detained hikers still await verdict

Though more than a week has passed since their trial date, two UC Berkeley alumni who have been detained in Iran for more than two years are still waiting for their verdict.

UC Berkeley alumni Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal stood trial in Iran’s Revolutionary Court last Sunday after their hearing was delayed in May without any given explanation from Iranian authorities. Though Iranian officials said the duo would receive their verdict within one week, no announcement has been made.

Both are facing charges of illegally entering Iran and espionage, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

In 2009, Bauer, Fattal and Bauer’s fiance, Sarah Shourd, were arrested by Iranian officials for allegedly spying while hiking along the Iran-Iraq border.

The three were hiking in the Kurdistan province of Iraq — an area frequented by tourists — when an Iranian soldier saw them and gestured for them to step off of their hiking trail. He then pointed to the trail and said “Iraq” and pointed to the spot where they now stood and said “Iran,” indicating that they had unknowingly crossed the border.

After discovering a lump in her breast, Shourd was released on $500,000 bail in September 2010.

Bauer and Fattal were not formally charged until Shourd’s release and have appeared in court only once, on Feb. 6. Their last contact with their families was on May 22 — one of three phone calls they have been allowed to make home.

“I know in my heart that when Shane and Josh walk out of prison, they will hold no bitterness towards anyone,” Shourd said in a July 29 statement. “I pray that day is very soon. And I know their hearts will be filled with the same love and respect for the world that they had two years ago. If anything, they will have more.”

Allie Bidwell is the news editor.