Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer

The two UC Berkeley graduates who have been held in an Iranian prison since July 2009 accused of spying have been released, according to various media reports, including CBS News, and the Bay Citizen.

Iran’s official Press TV reported that the two U.S. hikers were released at around 4:30 a.m. PST.

The TV station’s website said in a statement released by Iran’s Judiciary, that an appeals court agreed to reduce the detention sentences of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, and release them on $500,000 bail each.

Bauer, Fattal, and a third UC Berkeley graduate, Sarah Shourd, were arrested on July 31, 2009, after embarking on a hike in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and allegedly crossing illegally the Iranian border.

According to the Bay Citizen, the Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran and has been acting as an intermediary.

Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he intended 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.”

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...