More that two years ago, two American men were arrested while hiking along the borders of Iran-Iraq and charged with espionage and other charges. Just when they thought their release was in sight, they find themselves receiving eight years in prison. The State Department Spokeswoman has reinstated appeals for their release.
Three weeks ago they had their final court appearance and they have denied all the charges. They claim they were only hiking in a largely peaceful and scenic area of Northern Iraq near a waterfall in the Kurdish region. They mistakenly crossed stepped off a dirt road and stepped into Iran. There was also a third hiker that was detained with them in 2009 but she was released on a five hundred thousand dollar bond and came back to the United States in 2010 with her case still opened.
Their eight year sentences have been divided into five years for spying for the United States and three years for illegal entry into Iran. No report on whether this includes any time they have already served and they have twenty days to appeal the sentence.
This has just added to the tensions that already exist between Iran and the United States. Iranian officials have been known to use detained Americans to draw attention to alleged mistreatment of the Iranians held by United States forces in Iraq and the ones in prison in the United States.