Lawyer: Iran to free U.S. hikers today (UPDATE)
Details added after the second paragraph (first version posted at 14:31)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 21 /Trend/
Iran is expected on Wednesday to release two American men convicted of espionage, Reuters quoted their lawyer Masoud Shafie as saying.
"I have got necessary signatures from judiciary officials for their release on bail ... Hopefully the two will be freed today," Shafie said.
Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd were detained in 2009 after crossing an unmarked stretch of the Iran-Iraq border. They were charged by Iran's Revolutionary Court with illegally crossing the border and espionage and sentenced to eight-year prison terms.
Shourd was released in September, 2010 on health grounds after posting 500,000 dollars in bail, and returned to the United States.
Last week, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC News that two American nationals would be freed by the end of the week. Then, Iran's Revolutionary Court agreed to release two U.S. citizens under $500,000 bail for each.
However, Iran's Judiciary had refuted media reports on their release.
On Sept. 15, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani held talks with the Iranian top officials on the release of these two. After the talks, the Iranian side agreed to hand over them to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests in Iran.
Later, CNN reported that the Sultanate of Oman was involved again in brokering the release of Fattal and Bauer.
Shafee has failed to obtain on Sunday the second, key signature on bail arrangements for a possible release of his clients. The second judge who was supposed to sign the paperwork on the $1 million bail deal for Bauer and Fattal was on vacation until Tuesday.