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Things keep getting worse for the three American hikers detained in Iran after crossing the border with Iraq in July. They seem to be the latest pawns in a power struggle between the Islamic Republic and the United States, and the NY Times reports that Iranian officials now say the three—Shane Bauer, 27, Joshua Fattal, 27, and Sarah Shourd, 31—will be tried on undisclosed charges.
An Iranian government minister named Manouchehr Mottaki said only that three “entered Iran with suspicious aims. The judiciary will try them.” Then, almost as if to underscore his country’s lack of due process, he added that they will receive “relevant sentences.”
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton called the charges “unfounded,” adding:
“The three young people who were detained by the Iranians have absolutely no connection with any kind of action against the Iranian state or government,” she said in Washington, according to The A.P. “We appeal to the Iranian leadership to release these three young people and free them as soon as possible.”
State press agencies in Iran reported last month that the three would be charged with espionage, a crime which can carry the death sentence. Swiss officials visited the captured hikers in Evin Prison, where they were reported to be in good health.