CPJ rejects Iran espionage charges against American hikers

New York, November 9, 2009—Three American hikers who inadvertently crossed the border into Iran on July 31 are facing chargers of espionage, according to a report from the state news agency IRNA.

“We reject these outrageous and unfounded charges of espionage made against the three hikers,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “It is all the more outlandish that the defendants have not been given access to a lawyer or even been permitted to contact their families.”

Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, were on a short vacation in Iraqi Kurdistan when they strayed across the border. All three have an interest in writing or photography, and Bauer is an experienced journalist based in Damascus, Syria.

Supporters of the three hikers held vigils Sunday in 20 locations around the world to mark 100 days of captivity.