Iran leaves U.S. launch hiker
Tehran: Iran has canceled due out Saturday Shourd Sarah, an immigrant from the United States three accused of espionage and illegal entry into the country, says no one will be released until the case is resolved. Until the time that judicial proceedings in the case of three Americans accused is complete, none of them will be released, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said in a statement ILNA new body.
Any decision to free the three Americans would be taken by the judiciary, he added, repeating that this would not happen “until the investigation of their case is over.”Dolatabadi had earlier said that, because the the judicial process had not been completed in Shourd’s case, her release had been “ruled out.” Several officials had previously indicated that Shourd would be freed on Saturday.
State news agency IRNA reported President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office as saying her release had been postponed.
“The freedom of the American citizen which was to happen in a ceremony has been postponed as Saturday was a holiday,” it quoted an unnamed presidency source as saying.
Releasing Shourd could have eased tensions between Washington and Tehran, which have heightened in recent months over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme of uranium enrichment.
The 31-year-old was arrested along with fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal on July 31, 2009 after straying across the border from neighbouring Iraq.
Iran has accused the three of spying and illegal entry, but they insist they entered the country by mistake after getting lost during a trek in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Sarah’s mother Nora told AFP last month that Shourd was being held in solitary confinement despite suffering from a pre-cancerous cervical condition, a lump in her breast and depression.
The mothers of the trio had voiced hope that news of one of them being released signalled an end to their battle for freedom.
“We have seen the news reports and are urgently seeking further information,” Cindy Hickey, Nora Shourd and Laura Fattal said in a joint statement.
In May, Iran had allowed the mothers to visit, and they later reported that Shourd and Bauer had become engaged while behind bars.
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Nobel Prize winners and international rights groups have repeatedly urged Iran to release them.
Last month, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said an investigation on the US detainees was nearing completion.
In May, Iran released French academic Clotilde Reiss who was detained nearly a year earlier during the post-election protests. – AFP