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US hikers' lawyer not arrested but barred from leaving Iran

Iran Materials 4 October 2011 02:36
The Iranian judiciary on Monday denied reports that the lawyer of the three US hikers detained in Iran has been arrested, but confirmed that he was barred from leaving the country, ISNA news agency reported.
US hikers' lawyer not arrested but barred from leaving Iran

The Iranian judiciary on Monday denied reports that the lawyer of the three US hikers detained in Iran has been arrested, but confirmed that he was barred from leaving the country, ISNA news agency reported.

State Prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejehi said reports of Massoud Shafei having been arrested were "baseless," but added that he would disclose some other details in due time.

ISNA quoted an unnamed judiciary official as saying that Shafei was not arrested but had been banned from leaving to the United States. The official however declined to give any further explanations.

The hikers, Shane Bauer Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd, were detained in July 2009 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. The two were however released last week and returned via Oman to the US.

Shafei was the lawyer of the three US nationals, but he could only met them during the two years before the court sessions and never inside the prison.

Observers believe that the lawyer's planned trip to the US was in connection with the three hikers and that he may have been set to receive a reward before the Iranian judiciary prevented him from leaving.

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