American Hikers Fattal, Bauer will be released

A month after being sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court, two American hikers could soon be set free.

Elkins Park native Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, of Minnesota, had their bail set at $500,000 each, defense attorney Masoud Shafiei told several media outlets today. The families are trying to raise the money, which must be paid through a third-party because of the U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

In an interview aired on NBC’s “Today” show, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the two could be free “in a couple days” and described it as a “humanitarian gesture.” He referred several times to Iranians being held in U.S. prisons.

Fattal and Bauer have been in prison since July 2009 when they were captured with Sarah Shourd after hiking across the Iraq-Iran border. Shourd was released last year after she got sick in prison.

Last month, Fatal and Bauer were convicted on spy-related charges and sentenced to eight years in prison.

The U.S. government has repeatedly called for the release of the hikers. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today said the United States was “encouraged” by Ahmadinejad’s comments.

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