Iran Accuses US Hikers of CIA Links

Slam signals likely charges against young trio
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 9, 2010 1:44 AM CDT
Updated Apr 9, 2010 2:07 AM CDT
Josh Fattal poses for a snapshop in the Kurdish city of Irbil, Iraq, earlier this year before his arrest by Iranian authorities.   (AP Photo/Shon Meckfessel, File)
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(Newser) – Iran has accused three arrested American hikers of having links to US intelligence. The accusations likely signal that officials are preparing to formally charge the trio who have been held since last summer, reports the Telegraph. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 27, and Sarah Shourd, 31, were trekking in the Kurdistan area of Iraq in July when they accidentally crossed the border into Iran, according to their families.

It's the first time the three UC-Berkeley grads have been linked to US intelligence by a senior official, who told an Iranian TV station that investigators have uncovered "credible evidence" for the charges. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad initially said they would likely be freed quickly, but he has since complained about Iranians being held in US prisons, indicating the three Americans may be used as bargaining chips. The hikers were allowed to call their families last month and reported they were holding up well. For more information on efforts to free them, click here.

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