Iran Accuses Hikers of Being Spies

Trio held captive since July 2009

Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010  |  Updated 1:14 PM EDT
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Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer have been held in Iran since July 31.

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After some promising signs, the families of the three Cal graduates being held in Iran got some very discouraging news Thursday.

Iranian state television says the intelligence minister has accused the three Amerians of links to U.S. intelligence services.
     
Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have been held since crossing the border from Iraq in July. Their families say the group was on a hike in the scenic Kurdish region of northern Iraq and unintentionally strayed across the border.

Iran has accused them of spying and said it intends to bring them to trial.

Iran's English-language Press TV reported Thursday that Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said there was credible evidence that they have links to American intelligence. He said that evidence would be revealed soon.  Thursday's development took on a new international tone because the minister also warned nations in the Middle East against cooperating with U.S. intelligence.

Last month, the trio was allowed to make their first calls home.  The three reported being well. The families released a statement and said the call gave them hope.

Bauer and Fattal are 27 and Shourd is 31. The families say Bauer and Fattal are being held in the same prison cell in Tehran. Shourd is alone in her cell but is able to meet with the other two daily.

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