Freed American female hiker summoned to Iran to stand trial over spying charges

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 01, 2011 10:00 hrs

Sarah Shourd, An American woman who was released last year after spending 14 months in an Iranian jail, has been asked to stand trial in Tehran over spying charges.

Shourd and two American men were arrested by Iranian border guards in the country's north in July 2009.

The BBC quoted Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi as saying that Shourd has been summoned to stand trial on February 6, and added that she might forfeit the 500,000 dollars (314,386 pounds) bail if she fails to obey the orders of the court.

Thirty-two year-old Shourd was released on September 14 on health grounds and returned to the US last year. Her fiancé Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal are still behind bars in Tehran.

The US, however, has said that there is no basis for Shourd to stand trial in Iran as she had earlier claimed that the trio had crossed the borders unintentionally, and instead demanded the release of the other two Americans.

On Monday, a group of eight international figures, including Noam Chomsky, an American philosopher, actor Sean Penn and South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, demanded the release of two US citizens.

"The time for Shane and Josh's freedom is overdue and we implore you to allow them to go free and return to their families," the group said in a statement. (ANI)

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