Bloomberg: The lawyer representing two U.S. Americans detained in Iran for more than a year on espionage charges said he’ll request that they be allowed to move to the Swiss embassy in Tehran while awaiting trial.
By Ladane Nasseri
Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) — The lawyer representing two U.S. Americans detained in Iran for more than a year on espionage charges said he’ll request that they be allowed to move to the Swiss embassy in Tehran while awaiting trial.
Masoud Shafiei, the lawyer, said he will make the request after the trial date was postponed yesterday by three months to Feb. 6. The Swiss embassy in the Iranian capital handles the interests of the U.S., which doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the Islamic republic.
“It would be logical that they would be freed and allowed to stay at the Swiss embassy until the court session,” Shafiei said in a phone interview in Tehran today. He also said he’ll seek an earlier trial date because the three-month postponement “is against the rights of my clients.”
Shafiei is representing Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, who were detained in July 2009 and prosecuted for illegally crossing into Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan. The U.S. government has said they mistakenly wandered across the border during a hiking trip.
A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, who was detained with the other two, was freed in September on bail of $500,000, and left the country. Shafiei is also representing her.
Iran’s prosecutor-general, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, announced the postponement of the trial on Nov. 1, five days before it had been scheduled to start, saying the delay was because Shourd wasn’t summoned to appear.
The U.S. cut diplomatic ties with Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution in response to the seizure of the embassy in Tehran, where 52 American diplomats were held hostage for 444 days.