American hikers released from prison
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The two American hikers jailed in Iran for two years have been handed over to Swiss diplomats and are officially free.
Because a $1 million bail-for-release deal was approved by the courts today, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal will avoid having to serve the rest of an eight year prison sentence after being convicted of spying last month.
They were arrested along the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009.
A third American in the group, Sarah Shourd, was freed last year on bail as a humanitarian gesture.
The three, all friends from their days at the University of California at Berkeley, have maintained their innocence and denied the espionage charges against them.
Their families say they were hiking in Northern Iraq's peaceful Kurdish region when they may have accidentally strayed over the unmarked border with Iran.