Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAN: Judiciary announces second session for American hikers' trial

March 14, 2011 | 10:09 am

Shafeii Two Americans held in Iran on charges of espionage and trespassing will stand before an Iranian court for the second time, on May 11, but their lawyer says he has been barred from meeting his clients since the trial opened Feb. 6.

Masoud Shafeii told Babylon & Beyond last month that he would quit the case in protest unless he was granted access to Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer. He confirmed on Sunday that he still has not seen his clients.

The two Americans were arrested along with a third companion, Sarah Shourd, in a border area between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2009 and charged with spying and illegally entering the country.

Shourd, who has since been released and returned to the United States, has said in interviews that the three were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan when a group of Iranian soldiers waved them over onto the Iranian side.

Bauer and Fattal are due to appear once again before Judge Abolqasem Salavati, a notoriously strict judge who has been dubbed the "hanging judge" by opposition and human-rights activists.

--Los Angeles Times

Photo: Masoud Shafii, the Iranian lawyer for the American hikers, has been barred from seeing his clients in jail. Credit: Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters