American hostages Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer may soon be released from an Iranian prison, where the two have been held for over two years.
Fattal and Bauer, along with their travel companion, Sarah Shourd, were arrested by Iranian Security forces in July of 2009 and held on the charge of espionage.
The Americans who had been hiking in northern Iraq were taken into custody by border guards after they apparently strayed into Iranian territory.
In September of 2010 Shourd was released due to medical reasons, leaving Fattal and Bauer behind.
In August 2011, the two men were sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage. The verdict, which was determined to be five years for spying and three years for entering the country illegally, seemed unexpectedly harsh, in light of suggestions by Iranian officials that the detainees could be released on humanitarian grounds.
Deeply disappointed by the decision of Iran’s Revolutionary Court, in a recent Newsweek interview, the families of Fattal and Bauer continued to express hope that their loved ones would soon be released.
Shane Bauer’s father has amassed two years of Christmas presents for his son, and Fattal’s mother has continued to write to her son every day since his incarceration.
According to Masoud Shafiee, attorney for Fattal and Bauer, the two men will be released from Tehran’s Evin prison after a $500, 000 bail each is paid. This is in conjunction with a statement given to NBC by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the impending release of the Americans.
The United States does not hold diplomatic relations with Iran, but the State Department is reported to be monitoring the situation through the Swiss government which is representing the interest of the U.S. government in Iran.