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Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal freed by Iran

Iran frees two American hikers who had been convicted of spying.

Iran american hikers 08 20 11Enlarge
A picture released by Iran's state-run Press TV shows US hikers Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal (C), detained in Iran on spying charges, sitting next to an unidentified translator during the first session of their trial at the Tehran Revolutionary Court in the Iranian capital on February 6, 2011, more than 18 months after their arrest on the unmarked border with Iraq during a hiking trip. On August 20, 2011 Iran state media reported that Bauer and Fattal were each sentenced to eight years in jail for spying and illegally entering Iran. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran freed Wednesday two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who had been convicted of spying after being caught in the country.

A senior U.S. official told CNN the young men were released from jail Wednesday and immediately turned over to the custody of an Omani official. It reports that the men's families are in Oman, where they will receive medical checkups before being sent back to the United States.

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The hikers had been held in a Tehran prison for two years. Bauer and Fattal were arrested in 2009 after being found in Iran near the border with Iraq. The two men, both now 29, claimed they were hiking and got lost. However, Iran convicted them of illegal entry and spying and sentenced them to eight years in prison.

Sarah Shourd, also American, was arrested with the men but was released in September 2010 on $500,000 bail. She did not return to Iran to face trial but has campaigned for the men from the United States.

Before their release, Masoud Shafiei, a lawyer representing them, completed the paperwork needed for their release and ensured $1 million bail had been paid, the Washington Post reports. He then waited outside Evin prison with Swiss Ambassador to Iran Livia Leu Agosti, who represents U.S. interests in the country.

Oman, a U.S. Gulf ally, helped with the bail money, BBC reports.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/110921/shane-bauer-josh-fattal-freed-iran