[Marxism] Rift in Iran over hikers

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 14 07:15:21 MDT 2011


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/irans-judiciary-says-us-hikers-not-being-released/2011/09/14/gIQANFGVRK_story.html

Iran’s judiciary says U.S. hikers not being released
By Thomas Erdbrink, Wednesday, September 14, 6:06 AM

TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary on Wednesday denied President Mahmoud 
Ahmadinejad’s statements that two American men convicted of spying 
were being pardoned and would be released within two days.

In a statement published in Farsi on their Web site, the 
judiciary, which constitutionally is independent from other powers 
in the Islamic Republic of Iran, denied that Shane Bauer and Josh 
Fattal would be released.

The two men, both 29, were arrested along with another American, 
Sarah Shourd, as they hiked along the Iran-Iraq border in July 
2009. Last month, Bauer and Fattal were sentenced to eight years 
in prison for spying.

“The news of pardoning two Americans convicted of spying that had 
been mentioned by some media is denied,” the statement said. The 
statement acknowledged that Bauer’s and Fattal’s case is under 
review, but stressed that the judiciary is the only valid source 
to comment on the matter.

“Any information given by other people is not correct,” the 
statement read.

The statement by the judiciary did not make reference to a 
requirement that each man pay $500,000 bail before being released. 
Masoud Shafiei, the Iranian lawyer representing the two men, had 
said Tuesday that the judiciary was demanding the bail payments.

Shourd was released on bail last September, under similar 
circumstances.

The statement issued Wednesday highlights the tensions between 
Ahmadinejad and the judiciary, which are turning into an open rift 
over the hikers’ case.

When Shourd was released, Ahmadinejad announced she could return 
home on “humanitarian grounds,” but the judiciary demanded a 
$500,000 bail.

Only after the fee was paid by an Omani businessman was Shourd 
allowed to return to the United States.

A year later, Iran’s judiciary continues to summon her for court 
cases, demonstrating its disapproval of Ahmadinejad’s actions.

On Wednesday, Iran’s state-controlled media accused Ahmadinejad of 
acting against the constitution by granting Bauer and Fattal a 
“unilateral pardon.”

Ahmadinejad told The Washington Post and NBC News in separate 
interviews Tuesday that the hikers would be set free by week’s end.

“I am helping to arrange for their release in a couple of days so 
they will be able to return home,” he said.

But his decision was subject to clerical review, and Shafiei, the 
hikers’ lawyer, said Tuesday that it remained unclear whether the 
release ultimately would be decided by Ahmadinejad or the judiciary.

“I don’t know who arranged this, the court or the president,” 
Shafiei said. “The judiciary has said that everything is being 
done according to their procedures.”




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