Iran to put Americans on trial again in May: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 11:40 AM

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will put three Americans facing spying charges on trial for the second time on May 11, an official was quoted Sunday as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

"The next trial session of three Americans who have been charged by espionage will be held on May 11 in Tehran's revolutionary and general court," Alireza Avaiee, head of Tehran's prosecutor's office told IRNA.

Avaiee said the trial, unusually, may be held in public.

Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested on July 31, 2009, near Iran's border with Iraq and said they had crossed the unmarked border by mistake while hiking.

Shourd was released in September last year on $500,000 bail and returned home. Iran says the move a "humanitarian gesture."

The first trial session was held in February.

The case has added to strains between Iran and the West, already at loggerheads over the Islamic state's nuclear program. The West suspects the program might be aimed at making atomic bombs. Iran denies this and says it needs nuclear technology to meet its booming demand for energy.

(Writing by Ramin Mostafavi; Editing by Louise Ireland)