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US Hikers' Trial to Start Sunday; Report: Pahlavis Seek Shelter for Mubarak

05 Feb 2011 23:02Comments

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Three Americans to Stand Trial in Iran

ISNA | Feb 5

The three American nationals will stand trial in Iran on Sunday.

[The] lawyer of the three Americans who were arrested after illegal entry into Iranian territory said Saturday Sarah Shourd, one of the Americans released in September on bail, has prepared [a] defense.

"She has prepared and sent a defense to be presented at the court irrespective of her presence or absence in the trial process," Massoud Shafiei told ISNA.

"I will appear in the court along with my clients Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. I have studied the case and prepared [a] defense."

Sarah Shourd is expected to be tried as she was released on bail of around 500,000 dollars on September 14.

"The court has called Shourd through Foreign Ministry, so irrespective of her presence or absence, she has prepared and sent a defense to be read out in the court."

He added, "I have failed to meet with the two other clients to prepare [their] defense so far, but the judge has promised to arrange for a meeting a couple of hours before the trial."

Iran has charged the three US nationals with "spying and illegally entering the country."

U.S. Hikers to Stand Trial Sunday in Iran

CNN | Feb 5

"I asked to see them before the trial, but the judge told me I couldn't," said Masoud Shafii.

Shafii told CNN he has reviewed his clients' case file and doesn't see any evidence of a crime.

"In my opinion, they haven't done anything wrong," Shafii said. "The accusation of spying is baseless, and if they trespassed into Iran, it wasn't their fault."

Shafii said the border area where the hikers are accused of trespassing is unmarked and anyone could unwittingly cross over into Iran.

Americans to Stand Trial after 18 Months in Iran Jail

Reuters | Feb 5

Shafii [...] said he did not expect the trial to be delayed again, as it was in November when the court said it could not proceed without Shourd being present.

"Sarah was not invited last time but this time she was invited, the Foreign Ministry summoned her. Whether she comes or not is not relevant from a legal point of view," he said in an interview at his Tehran office.

Shafii said illegal entry into Iran could carry a penalty of between 18 months and three years and was upbeat about the chances for a no guilty verdict or a sentence which would see them released.

"I'm pretty sure they won't be convicted because it doesn't have any legal justification. Even it they are convicted, (the sentence) shouldn't be for more than what they have already spent in jail."

Shafii said his repeated requests to visit his clients, held in Tehran's notorious Evin jail, had been rejected and he had not seen them since Shourd's release in September.

US Hikers' Lawyer 'Denied Access' before Iran Trial

AFP | Feb 5

"I should have met with Shane and Josh to prepare the defence, but I was not allowed," lawyer Masoud Shafii told AFP. "I have been told, tomorrow I might see them one or two hours before the trial."

He also said Shourd, who returned to the United States after her release on bail, was unlikely to appear in court.

"All the signs indicate that she will not be there. She has prepared a statement which has been delivered to me through the Swiss embassy," which represents US interests in Iran, he said.

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The Pahlavi Mediating with Washington to Secure Shelter for Mubarak

IRNA | Feb 5

The Pahlavi family is mediating with Washington to help shelter Hosni Mubarak in the United States, IRNA learned on Saturday.

[An] IRNA freelancer in Cairo quoted informed sources saying that Reza Pahlavi and the wife of the deposed shah have contacted Hosni Mubarak by telephone in the past 24 hours.

He said that the Pahlavi[s] see themselves [as] indebted to [the] Egypt[ian] president because he hosted them when they escaped from Iran [and] have embarked on extensive mediation efforts with Washington to help prepare the ground for sheltering Mubarak in the US.

In the past 24 hours, all talk on [the] probable collapse of [the] Mubarak regime but the Zionists as well as influential senators have launched full-scale efforts to get guarantee[s] from Obama's administration for the aftermath of Mubarak['s] fall.

In 1979, Iran['s] deposed shah left the country under [the] pretext of [seeking] medical treatment and it seems Mubarak will resort to such a scenario too.

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