Iranian minister calls for trial of American hikers accused of espionage

Tehran, Oct 17(ANI): Iran's Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has said that two American hikers who are in custody over 'spying' charges must be tried in an Iranian court.

Tehran has accused Shane M. Bauer and Joshua F. Fattal of espionage and illegally crossing the country's border with Iraq, but no formal charges have been brought against them.

Similar accusations were leveled against a third hiker, Sara E. Shourd, before she was released last month.

"In the opinion of this ministry, the two detained Americans accused of spying must await trial by the judiciary," the New York Times quoted Moslehi, as saying.

Moslehi also said that Shourd had been freed "temporarily" and that she would have to return to Iran "when required" to stand trial.

The three Americans deny spying, saying that they accidentally strayed into Iranian territory while on a hike in Iraq when they were arrested on 31 July 2009.

Shourd was released in September for 500,000 dollars in bail money on grounds of illness.

Shourd had been diagnosed as suffering from a lump in her breast and pre-cancerous cervical cells. (ANI)

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