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Iran Trial Of UC Berkeley Grads Delayed Without Explanation

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A picture obtained from Iran's state-run English-language Press TV shows detained US hikers (L-R) Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal waiting to meet their mothers for the first time since their arrest, in the Iranian capital Tehran on May 20, 2010. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture obtained from Iran’s state-run English-language Press TV shows detained US hikers (L-R) Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal waiting to meet their mothers for the first time since their arrest, in the Iranian capital Tehran on May 20, 2010. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

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TEHRAN (CBS SF) – The Iranian lawyer for three UC Berkeley grad students charged with espionage said judicial authorities have not resumed their trial as planned.

Masoud Shafiei said that two jailed Americans—Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal—were not brought into court Wednesday. Shafiei says Iranian officials gave no immediate explanation.

Bauer and Fattal have been held since July 2009 after being taken into custody on the Iran-Iraq border. A third American, Sarah Shourd, was released in September on $500,000 bail and is being charged in absentia.

Shafiei said the three deny the allegations and say any crossing intoIranwas inadvertent..

Shourd, who also graduated from UC Berkeley, announced last week that she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by her imprisonment and won’t return toTehranfor the trial with Bauer, who is her fiance, and Fattal.

Shourd said in a statement that Bauer and Fattal “have to live every second of every day with the fear and uncertainty that comes from not knowing why they are being held, what is going to happen to them or how their families are coping.”

Shourd said, “We are not spies andIranknows it. Shane and Josh should be free to resume their lives and I hope the court will release because they have done nothing wrong.”

Shourd’s mother, Nora Shourd, who lives in Oakland, said in a recent email message that the espionage charges against the hikers are “baseless.”

She said Bauer and Fattal “have now spent more than 21 months in prison in Iran for no reason, virtually cut off from our families and with no access to their lawyer.”

Shourd said, “We are sick with worry about Shane and Josh and the damage their uncertainty and isolation is doing to their mental and physical health.”

She added, “This nightmare is also taking a terrible toll on our families. Many of us have fallen ill, or had to give up jobs, and faced other troubles because of what Iran is doing.”

The families of Bauer and Fattal said in a statement on Monday that, “Shane and Josh should not be standing trial but we trust they will be given the chance to reaffirm their innocence, as they did at a previous hearing on Feb. 6, and that the Iranian judiciary will recognize at long last that the only outcome is their immediate release.”

The families said, “The world will be watching and praying that the court will act in the spirit of justice and humanity that Shane and Josh so clearly deserve.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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