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Muhammad Ali asks Iran to free U.S. hikers [Updated]

March 16, 2011 |  9:34 am

MM Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has reached out to Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an effort to free two Americans held since 2009 on spy charges.

Ali wrote a letter on Feb. 1 asking Khamenei as a brother in Islam to release hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, who were arrested in northern Iraq near the Iranian border. 

[Updated at 10:00 a.m.: “Please show the world the compassion I know you have in your heart,” Ali wrote to Khamenei in the letter released to the Associated Press on Wednesday.]

The former world heavyweight champion also wrote to Khamenei last year, shortly before a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail in September.

-- Chuck Schilken

Photo: Muhammad Ali in 1999. Credit: Richard Drew / AP