Iran considers "Islamic kindness" in case of two jailed US hikers

Iran considers "Islamic kindness" in case of two jailed US hikers

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on Saturday appeared hopeful that the two Americans who were last month jailed for spying would be shown "Islamic kindness" by the judiciary, dpa reported.

"The judiciary wants to let Islamic kindness be considered in the case of the two US nationals and their jail sentences be revised," Salehi told reporters in Tehran.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were detained in July 2009, along with their companion Sarah Shourd, after crossing into Iran from Iraq's Kurdistan region.

Shourd was released in September 2010 on health grounds and returned to the United States, while a Tehran court in August sentenced Bauer and Fattal to eight years in prison.

A court had rejected their claims that they crossed the unmarked border by accident while hiking in the area.

A spokesperson of Iranian Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehmanparast said Saturday that American hikers can leave Iran after paying bails.

In an interview with US broadcaster NBC on Tuesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the two men would be released from jail within a couple of days.

Thereafter the judiciary said that it was considering the option of granting them bail.

Their lawyer, Massoud Shafei, on Saturday said that he had not yet obtained the judiciary's approval for bail of 1 million dollars.

Salehi gave no specific date for their release but confirmed that regional leaders were mediating in the matter. Iraq and Oman, which helped to broker Shourd's release, are reportedly in constant contact with Tehran.

There have been similar cases of harsh verdicts against foreign nationals accused of spying that were later revised, mainly due to political considerations.

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