The Two Hikers Detained By Iran Were Released on Bail
The two American hikers who were arrested in 2009 and were accused of espionage for the United States were released on Wednesday on bail, according to media reports. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were placed into the custody of the Omani envoy in Tehran.
The Iranian lawyer Masoud Shafiei, who represented the two Americans, could not confirm the release but said that the case was over. The lawyer said that the bail of $500,000 for each was posted after a few problems with the bank. He did not say where the money came from.
Oman dispatched a plane last week belonging to the sultan to bring the two people. Officials in Oman did not make any comment about what will happen to the two Americans next. They only said that the plane they have sent was still in Tehran.
The release of the two hikers came as the Iranian president arrived in New York, where he attended the UN General Assembly. Ahmadinejad made it a habit of releasing a prisoner before coming to the UN, so that he may show how Iran is committed to the values of democracy.
Last year he released a third member of the hikers group, a young women who had developed a physical illness in prison. The president released her, and she was also picked by the Omani envoys last September.
This year, the release of the two was in question until the last minute, given that the judiciary maintained that their release on bail was out of the question, and that the press should not have believe what different people are saying, alluding to the president.
This is in the opinion of experts in Iranian politics a sign that between the president and the judiciary there is a struggle going on, by which the clergy, who dominate the judiciary, want to bar Ahmadinejad’s way toward gathering too much power in his hands. They also want to make sure that he doesn’t get the support of Western countries.
The release of the two hikers could be construed as a victory of the governmental and presidential side over the clergy and the judiciary. The three hikers have always maintained that they were innocent of the accusations brought against them.11