Iran has sentenced two American hikers to eight years in prison for illegally entering the country and spying for a US intelligence agency.
“According to an informed source with the judiciary, Shane Bauer… and… Josh Fattal, the two detained American citizens, have been each sentenced to three years in prison for illegal entry to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the television reported on its website.
It further said the two have been “sentenced to five years in prison on charges of espionage for the American intelligence agency,” without saying when the verdict had been reached.
“The case of Sarah Shourd, who has been freed on bail is still open,” the report said referring to the third hiker who is being tried in absentia.
The verdict is expected to further raise tension between Washington and Tehran at a time when the animosity between the two has deepened under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to the report, the two men have 20 days to appeal against the verdict.
Bauer and Fattal, both 29, were arrested along with Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009, with the trio claiming they were hiking in Iraq’s northern province of Kurdistan when they innocently strayed into the Islamic republic.