“Only One Signature Away From Freedom,” Says Lawyer to Americans
Massoud Shafiee, lawyer of the two imprisoned Americans, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the two prisoners are only one signature away from freedom. “The judge, whose signature is required, will be on vacation until Tuesday and so we must wait until Tuesday for Josh and Shane’s release,” Shafiee told the Campaign.
Reacting to recent remarks by Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, about the need for further investigations into the espionage charges of the two men, Shafiee said: “I have not read his remarks regarding this matter, but even assuming that there is a need for further investigations, there is no conflict with their release, as they will be released on bail, meaning that their detention ruling has been changed to a bail ruling. This means that their case file remains open, and the investigation can be carried out later.”
“These individuals’ past history and conduct is indicative that they are spies, but whether they have been able to spy in our country or not is another matter,” Mohammad Javad Larijani told Fars News Agency on Saturday 17 September. “Anyhow, the bail ruling has been issued and there remains only one more signature. All evidence indicates that they should be released soon,” said Shafiee.
Asked whether they can leave Iran legally after bail is posted, Shafiee said, “After their bail is posted, they can either stay in Iran or leave the country. When bail is posted, it can literally replace that individual and he can do anything he wants, like Sarah Shourd, who returned to the United States after her bail was posted.”
In an interview with Ann Curry of NBC on 12 September, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the two Americans would be released in the next two days. But less than 24 hours later, the Judiciary denied news of the Americans’ release in a statement, and said they were still considering Shafiee’s request for his clients’ release on bail.
On 20 August, Iranian media announced that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court had sentenced Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer to three years in prison each for illegally entering the country and to five years’ imprisonment on charges of spying. After the sentencing, the lawyer of the two suspects submitted his appeal to the court.