Hikers' Path to Freedom Hits Snag

Vacationing judge means they'll wait until at least Tuesday
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2011 8:22 AM CDT
US Hikers in Iran: Bail-Freedom Deal Hits Snag as Top Official Denounces 'Spies'
In this Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 file photo, US hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal, attend their trail in Iran.    ((AP Photo/Press TV, File))

After more than two years in an Iranian prison, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer's imminent bid for freedom has been put on hold—by, of all things, a vacationing judge, reports the AP. Attorney Masoud Shafiei says the $1 million bail deal that would free the American hikers is on hold because a second judge's signature is needed for the paperwork, and he's out of town. "I have no choice but to wait until Tuesday," Shafiei says.

In another potentially bad sign for the pair, a top Iranian official today was quoted as saying their "crime was not limited to illegal trespassing," and that "we do not award the spies." The mixed signals are typical of the political pinball between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who earlier this week vowed to free the pair, and the country's judiciary. (More hikers stories.)

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