Two Bay Area men were sentenced to eight years in prison on Sunday for their alleged espionage against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd said they were hiking in Iraq's northern border, near Iran in July, 2009 when they were arrested by Iranian authorities. Shourd was released last September due to health reasons.
The lawyer for the three, Masoud Shafiei, told the Associated Press he received his clients' verdict on Sunday, noting his clients are innocent and he will appeal.
"I will use entire legal capacity to defend them," he said.
The AP reports that Iran's chief prosecutor confirmed the sentences and said the three have 20 days to appeal. Shourd's case will be tried despite her absence, prosecutor Jafari Dowlatabadi said. She was released on $500,000 bail, but has stated she will not return for the trial.
Despite this sentence, Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Dannaie Fir, said told the AP he expects the two men to be freed "very soon," but declined any specific details on their release.