Lawyer: Criminal proceedings against three U.S. citizens arrested in Iran should be stopped

Politics Materials 27 May 2011 16:34 (UTC +04:00)
Lawyer: Criminal proceedings against three U.S. citizens arrested in Iran should be stopped

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 26 /Trend, T.Jafarov/

Accusations against three U.S. citizens arrested in Iran are lawfully groundless. Criminal proceedings against them should be stopped, the lawyer of the three American citizens Massoud Shafii told Trend.

U.S. citizens Shin Baver, Joshua Feta and Sarah Shord were arrested at the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009. They are charged with illegal crossing of the Iranian border and espionage, official Tehran said. However, the U.S. said that the accused individuals are climbers and travelers who crossed the border accidentally. In mid September last year, Sarah Shord was released on bail of $500,000, but the other Americans are still in custody.
According to Shafii, there is no evidence to charge U.S. citizens with espionage.
"According to Article 501 of the Criminal Code, a person is considered to be a spy in case of acquisition of secret information and the transfer of these documents to other countries. My clients had no such activity, accusing them of espionage is groundless, there is no evidence in this criminal case that meet the requirements of this article," said Shafii.
He said the sentence on accusations of illegally crossing the border is also unfounded.

Both U.S. citizens have been in custody for 22 months, and the period of arrest should be calculated upon the punishment prescribed by this accusation," said Shafii. The lawyer considers it necessary to stop criminal proceedings against these persons.
Shafii said the trial of these persons had already been postponed several times for unknown reasons. "The process was postponed twice because of the non-participation of the accused in the trial," said Shafii.
According to him, Iran's judicial system has not clarified the question of why the accused were not brought to the courtroom.
The last trial of U.S. citizens was to be held on May 11 (upon the Iranian calendar - 21st of Ordibehesht month), but it was postponed. According to the Shafii, Shin Baver and
Joshua Feta were on hunger strike for 17 days and their health condition at present is satisfactory.
"At the beginning of the year (New Year in Iran starts on March 21), the arrested U.S. citizens held a 17-day hunger strike to protest against the fact that they were not given letters from their families. Their condition is currently satisfactory," Shafii told Trend by telephone from Tehran.

According to Shafii, despite numerous requests, conditions are not created for his meetings with the accused. He said his last meeting with them took place on February 6 in court.