Iran 'holds back' release of one of three US hikers held for over a year

New York, Sept 11 (ANI): An Iranian official has said that the release of Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans held in the Evin prison for over a year on spying charges, has been held back because legal procedures were not complete.

According to the BBC, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said that her release has been halted because the judiciary did not confirm the published reports.

"Clearly any decision regarding the mentioned accused will be made after the completion of the legal procedure," he added.

A presidential official has also confirmed the delay to its official IRNA news agency. No date of her release has been confirmed so far.

Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal were arrested by the Iranian authorities while they were on a hiking trip in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq in July 2009.

Tehran accused the trio of espionage and illegally crossing the border, charges that they, their families and supporters have categorically denied. The three hikers have not been formally charged with any crime.

It was said that the release was to mark Eid al-Fitr, the festival ending the Muslim Ramadan. The families of the three had repeatedly asked for them to be freed on humanitarian grounds. (ANI)

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