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Iran sentences 2 American men to 8 years in jail

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by RazPaK, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. RazPaK

    RazPaK BANNED

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    Iran sentences 2 American men to 8 years in jail
    By ALI AKBAR DAREINI

    The Associated Press

    TEHRAN, Iran

    Two American men arrested more than two years ago while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border have been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges that include espionage, state TV reported Saturday, a sharp blow to hopes their release was imminent.

    The announcement seemed to send a hard-line message from Iran's judiciary which answers directly to the ruling clerics weeks after the country's foreign minister suggested that the trial of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal could clear the way for their freedom.

    It also was likely to raise speculation about Iran using the Americans as political bargaining chips and could bring added tensions to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's expected visit to New York next month for the annual General Assembly at the United Nations.

    Authorities did not immediately confirm the report and made no further comment although it was carried on Iran's highly controlled state media, which is frequently used to make high-profile announcements.

    In Washington, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland restated U.S. appeals for their release. "It is time to reunite them with their families," she said.

    A spokeswoman for the men's relatives said only that the families were aware of the report and awaiting confirmation.

    "They are asking for privacy during this difficult time," Samantha Topping said.

    The Americans, whose final court hearing was three weeks ago, deny the charges and say they were only hiking in a scenic and largely peaceful area of northern Iraq near the porous border.

    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 to the United States. Shourd's case "is still open," the state-run TV website irinn.ir reported.

    Bauer and Fattal, both 29, have been sentenced to three years each for illegal entry into Iran and five years each for spying for the United States, the website quoted "informed sources" at Iran's judiciary as saying. It was not immediately clear if that includes time served. They have 20 days to appeal the sentence.

    Their Iranian attorney, 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."

    It's unclear what maximum sentence was possible by the Revolutionary Court, which handles state security issues. Espionage can bring the death penalty, but handing the sentence to a foreigner is unknown legal territory in Iran.

    Iran insists that its judiciary is independent from political currents, but Iranian officials have used the detained Americans to draw attention to alleged mistreatment of Iranians in U.S. prisons and others who were held by U.S. forces in Iraq. The report on the sentences came just two days after President Barack Obama made his most direct call for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who remains among Iran's closest Mideast allies.

    The case, meanwhile, has added to tensions between the United States and Iran that were already high over other issues, including Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

    But Iran also recognizes the potential for goodwill gestures. Shourd's release assisting with talks by Oman came last year as Ahmadinejad was preparing for the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders.

    The Americans say they mistakenly crossed into Iran when they stepped off a dirt road while hiking near a waterfall in the Kurdish region of Iraq. While other parts of Iraq remain troubled by violence, the semiautonomous Kurdish north has drawn tourists in recent years, including foreigners.

    The U.S. government has appealed for the two men to be released, insisting that they have done nothing wrong. The two countries have no direct diplomatic relations, so Washington has been relying on an interests section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to follow the case.

    Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he hoped "the trial of the two American defendants who were detained for the crime of illegally entering Iran will finally lead to their freedom." Their lawyer also had expressed hope they might receive a pardon for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

    Shourd is back living in Oakland, California; Bauer grew up in Onamia, Minnesota; and Fattal is from suburban Philadelphia. The last direct contact family members had with Bauer and Fattal was in May 2010 when their mothers were permitted a short visit in Tehran.

    Their case most closely parallels that of freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American who convicted of spying before being released in May 2009. Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison, but an appeals court reduced that to a two-year suspended sentence and let her return to the U.S.

    At the time, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said the court ordered the reduction as a gesture of "Islamic mercy" because Saberi had cooperated with authorities and expressed regret.

    In May 2009, a French academic, Clotilde Reiss, also was freed after her 10-year sentence on espionage-related charges was commuted.

    Last year, Iran freed an Iranian-American businessman, Reza Taghavi, was held for 29 months for alleged links to a bombing in the southern city of Shiraz, which killed 14 people. Taghavi denied any role in the attack.

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  2. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    They are not Americans they are Jewish/Israelis

    Americans do not have features as such as for the captured agents , the hair , the eyes and features all Israeli citizens with US forged passports probably went in to incite a war but it did not happened
     
  3. Leader

    Leader ELITE MEMBER

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    the main point is, hamen tou Ramond Davis yaad ata hai.... :argh:
     
  4. rameez ahmed

    rameez ahmed FULL MEMBER

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    Very Good Iran. Keep it up . I hope our Pathetic leaders may learn some lessons from Iran .
     
  5. 888jamie888

    888jamie888 FULL MEMBER

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    8 years? Very harsh? What evidence was there of espionage?
     
  6. FreekiN

    FreekiN ELITE MEMBER

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    Apparently they were "hiking"

    Who the hell "hikes" in a warzone bordering a country that hates your guts?
     
  7. fd24

    fd24 SENIOR MEMBER

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    What the hell are these 2 jews walking around in hostile land? Summer picnic? The americans should be ashamed of thier spying methods.Well done to the Iranian government for being as vigilant as they have been. Wish our government could learn something from them
     
  8. 888jamie888

    888jamie888 FULL MEMBER

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    How do you know they are Jewish?
    'While other parts of Iraq remain troubled by violence, the semiautonomous Kurdish north has drawn tourists in recent years, including foreigners.' Hiking is not unheard of then.
    Again, what evidence is there of espionage?
     
  9. fd24

    fd24 SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think you will find Bauer and Fattal are jewish names. I wasnt at the trial but thier must have been sufficient evidence for them to be sentanced. Are you insinuating the Iranian judicary system is flawed? If someone had been caught entering Israel illegally im sure they would have done much worse looking at thier track record. They had entered the country illegally and were caught spying. I think they have 20 days to appeal lets see what happens
     
  10. 888jamie888

    888jamie888 FULL MEMBER

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    Well bauer is originally German. It means peasant or farmer. My name is also German, but I am English. So you are wrong.
    And yes I think their system is flawed, seeing as they stone people to death.
     
  11. fd24

    fd24 SENIOR MEMBER

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    There system is flawed. why cos you dont agree with it. The method of their justice is to act as a detterent as opposed to they like stoning people to death. typical ignorant westerner in that you are critical of anything you know little about. go and look at different justice systems in defferent regions just because they are different you have no right to lecture with your smug superior boxxxxs to us
     
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  12. rameez ahmed

    rameez ahmed FULL MEMBER

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    @888jamie888

    If you have any doubts, then please go to Iranian Courts and ask them this Question. . . . . .
     
  13. 888jamie888

    888jamie888 FULL MEMBER

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    Exactly. I think that stoning is wrong. Therefore I think that a system that hands out this punishment is also wrong and flawed. That is my opinion and I am allowed it.
    You say westerners are ignorant? Surely that too makes you ignorant? Also you live in the UK a western country?
    I am critical of anything I know little about? Well that just is not true. I am critical of the justice systems which I think are barbaric.
    To even things up, I disagree with the American system and the way they have the death penalty.
     
  14. Kambojaric

    Kambojaric SENIOR MEMBER

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    Hiking in Iraq? Yeah sure, Whats next, "hiking" in Gaza?
     
  15. Mosamania

    Mosamania ELITE MEMBER

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    A Saudi was in Israel for 6 years in Jail because he entered Israeli territory by mistake......