Trial date set for Iran hikers

Joshua Fattal — the Elkins Park native imprisoned in Iran for nearly 20 months since his arrest along with two friends for alleged illegal entry into the Persian country — will go back to court May 11, according to international news reports yesterday.

Alireza Avaei, an official in the prosecutor’s office in Tehran, the nation’s capitol, told Iranian news agency Press TV that the date had been set for the trial to resume. It last adjourned in February for a preliminary hearing.

Fattal and fellow American hikers Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were arrested by Iranian forces on July 31, 2009, as they walked along the Iraq-Iran border. Fattal, 27, grew up in Elkins Park and his parents still reside there.

Both he and Bauer, who is engaged to Shourd, remain in a Tehran prison. Shourd was released on Sept. 14, 2010, on humanitarian grounds after spending 410 days in solitary confinement. She reportedly suffered from physical ailments. She will be tried in absentia when court resumes, family members of the three have said. Avaei did not state whether the trial would be public.

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