Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal: reports suggest the two men may be released from prison in Iran on bail

Update, 3:25pm: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he intends to release Fattal and Bauer and grant them a “unilateral pardon”. Ahmadinejad told The Washington Post: “I am helping to arrange for their release in a couple of days so they will be able to return home.” Newsy provides a video summary of the news coverage so far of the hikers’ possible release


An Iranian court set bail Tuesday of $500,000 each for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, the two former UC Berkeley students arrested more than two years ago and convicted on spy-related charges, according to the Associated Press and other media reports.

The American pair may be free within days, their defense attorney said. Their companion, Sarah Shourd, was released from prison on a $500,000 bail in September 2010, and has been campaigning for the release of her friends ever since.

“They accepted to set bail to release,” the lawyer, Masoud Shafiei, told The Associated Press after leaving the court. “The amount is the same for Sarah.”

In August, Iranian TV reported that Fattal and Bauer had been sentenced to eight years in prison: five years each for espionage, specifically “cooperating with the American intelligence service”, and three years for illegal entry.

The three Cal graduates were seized on July 31, 2009 when hiking in the Iraqi Kurdish region and allegedly crossed into Iran illegally.

Read the development of the hikers’ story on Berkeleyside. Visit the Free the Hikers website set up by their families.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...