Elkins Park Native Josh Fattal Sentenced to Eight Years in Iranian Prison

The American hikers arrested two years ago for inadvertently crossing
the unmarked border from Iraq into Iran, including Elkins Park native Josh Fattal, have been sentenced to eight years in
Iranian prison, according to unnamed judicial sources cited by state
television in the country.

Authorities have not immediately confirmed the report and it is unclear if the sentenced quoted includes time served.

Shane Bauer and Fattal, who have already spent
more than two years in prison in Iran, have 20 days to appeal the
conviction. The men, both 29, have been sentenced to three years
each for
illegal entry into Iran and five years each for spying for the United
States, according to the television report.

The sentence crushes hopes recently raised by Iran’s ambassador, who hinted that the hiker’s trial could lead to their freedom. Many predicted that the two would be released as a show of mercy during the holy month of Ramadan.

“I’ve not been notified of any verdict in the case of my clients,”
their Iranian attorney, Masoud Shafiei told The Associated Press. “This is a strong verdict
inconsistent with the charges.”

A third hiker in the group, Sarah Shourd, was released on $500,000 bail last year for medical reasons.

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