BERKELEY (CBS SF)— The two UC Berkeley graduates jailed in Iran on espionage charges for the past two years could be released during a court hearing scheduled for Sunday.
The hearings of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal coincide with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, which is known for observing peace and forgiveness.
Bauer and Fattal’s espionage and illegal entry hearing is expected to commence Sunday morning Iranian time, which is actually Saturday night in the U.S. Their lawyer Masoud Shaflei spoke in Tehran Saturday and told reporters he expects their release based on the holiday and the anniversary of their captivity.
KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:
If convicted of those charges, the penalty in Iran is a death sentence, but if cleared, the men could be released within days.
Bauer’s mother Cindy Hickey said she’s hopeful, but at this point is not making travel plans. Fattal’s mother, Laura, agreed that Ramadan would be the right time for her son’s and Bauer’s release.
“I believe the Iranian authorities know Shane and Josh are innocent. They’ve known for a long time. It’s really about release, it’s about compassion, it’s about time,” said Hickey.
Sara Shourd who was also arrested and released last year on humanitarian grounds is Bauer’s fiancée. She spoke on this morning CBS early show on Saturday and said she prays the time for compassion for the two prisoners is near.
All three are Cal graduates and were arrested after crossing into Iran while hiking and they’ve all always denied the allegations that they were spies.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)