Jailed Americans in Iran get 20 days to appeal (Lead)

August 21st, 2011 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Aug 21 (IANS) Two US citizens sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying were given 20 days to appeal by the Iranian prosecutors, the state media reported Sunday.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were caught two years ago for illegally entering the country. They were lodged in a jail since then.

Chief Prosecutor Abbas Ja’fari Dolatabadi said at a press conference that they were give 20 days to appeal.

The convicts’ jail term will be finalized if they fail to appeal in due time, the state-run IRNA news agency quoted Dolatabadi as saying.

Referring to Sarah Shourd, who was arrested along with the two Americans but was later freed on bail on health grounds, Dolatabadi said her case was still open.

The chief prosecutor said Shourd, who was also charged with spying, will be tried in absentia. She was freed in September 2010 on a bail of $500,000 due to her ill health.

Last week, Masoud Shafiee, the lawyer of the two detained Americans, had expressed hope that they would be freed soon.

The Americans, who claim to be hikers, were arrested in Iran July 31, 2009 for illegally entering the country.

They were later charged with espionage.

The US government says the charges were unfounded.

The final trial against the Americans was held earlier this month in Tehran’s Revolution Court, the IRIN television channel reported.

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