Three graduates of UC Berkeley, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, were accused today of espionage by Tehran’s chief prosecutor. The three were arrested on July 31 on the Iran-Iraq border and have been held since without charge. The accusation by chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi is being reported as a likely prelude to the three being brought to trial in Tehran.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters today, “We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever.”

There have been regular vigils in Berkeley in support of the three. The website Free the Hikers has been established for information on the three, and for registering support for their release. Bauer, who won Berkeley’s Matthew M. Lyon Prize in Photography in 2007, has a personal site with stunning photojournalistic work taken in Darfur, Yemen, Ethiopia and other places.

Update At today’s press briefing, White House communications director Robert Gibb said the three were “innocent young people” and “should be released”.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...