(JTA) — Two American hikers who were imprisoned in Iran for two years after they strayed across the border were released on bail.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, were set free Wednesday from a Tehran prison into the custody of officials from Oman, who took them straight to the airport, according to reports. They each posted $500,000 bail.
Bauer and Fattal were held on spy charges since they and a third hiker were arrested July 31, 2009 after crossing into Iran from Iraq during a hike. Sarah Shourd was released a year ago on the same bail on medical grounds.
All three have denied the spy charges. The men were sentenced to eight years in prison; the conviction and sentence are being appealed.
Shourd and Bauer are engaged to be married. All three are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, and were studying and traveling in the Middle East before they were arrested.
It is suspected that they have been granted bail now in order to soften up the international community as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. The Iranian judiciary delayed the release for a week in an apparent power struggle with Ahmadinejad.