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U.S. hikers freed by Iran to arrive home on Sunday

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, September 24, 2011 16:14 EDT
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The two US hikers Iran recently released after holding in jail for more than two years are scheduled to arrive home on Sunday, a family spokeswoman told AFP.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 29, plan to leave Oman on Saturday and are “expected to arrive on US soil tomorrow,” spokeswoman Samantha Topping told AFP, without specifying where they would land.

The two hikers men were flown into Muscat on an Omani Royal Air Force plane Wednesday after the Gulf sultanate paid $1 million bail to get them released.

Bauer and Fattal were arrested along with a third hiker, Bauer’s fiancee Sarah Shourd, near the mountainous border with Iraq on July 31, 2009.

All three have consistently maintained they innocently strayed into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Shourd was released last year on $500,000 bail also paid by Oman.

On August 21, Bauer and Fattal were each sentenced to eight years in prison by a revolutionary court in Tehran on charges of espionage and illegal entry. They appealed against the ruling but the bail settlement saw them released.

President Barack Obama on Friday thanked Oman’s Sultan Qaboos for his role in pushing Iran to free the US hikers.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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