Contradictory Statements By Intelligence Minister Regarding Detained Americans
Contrary to earlier statements by Massoud Shafiee, lawyer for the two American hikers who remain imprisoned, insisting that his clients’ case does not include any espionage evidence, Iran’s Minister of Intelligence said on Thursday that “as far as our Ministry is concerned, the two detained Americans are espionage suspects, and they must wait for their trial and ruling by the Iranian Judiciary.”
“Ms. Shourd was temporarily released with a judicial order for a heavy bail, due to her illness and to show Islamic kindness. If necessary, she will have to return to Iran,” said Heydar Moslehi during an interview with the official Iranian News Agency, IRNA, in Beirut. “There are documents pertaining to these American suspects which have been turned over to the Judiciary, so that a decision can be made about them,” he added.
After being released, Sarah Shourd has repeatedly stressed the innocence of herself and her two companions who remain in prison. Previously, Shafiee had told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that other than illegal entry, there is no other evidence in his clients’ case file, adding that cash fines and imprisonment are the potential punishments stipulated by law. Considering the fact that two of the suspects have been in prison for more than 15 months, Shafiee had expected that their prison terms would not exceed the time they have already spent in prison.
Despite the Minister of Intelligence’s statements, thus far no evidence supporting the allegations of espionage have been discussed in Iran’s pro-government media.