July 2, 2011

Iran denies U.S. hikers were mistreated in jail

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iran denied in a statement issued by its U.N. mission on Friday that two U.S. citizens detained on spying charges have been mistreated, saying they had consular contact and a visit from their families.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, together with Bauer's fiancee Sarah Shourd, were arrested by Iranian forces on July 31, 2009, on suspicion of spying after crossing into Iran from neighboring Iraq.

Shourd, who was released on bail in September and returned home, has insisted the trio were innocent hikers who unintentionally crossed the unmarked border into Iran.

The families said in a letter released on Thursday that Fattal and Bauer had been subjected to psychological torture as a result of extreme isolation, had been denied access to their lawyer and to consular visits from Swiss diplomats who represent U.S. interests in Iran.

The letter, addressed to Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations human rights investigator on Iran, also claimed Fattal and Bauer were assaulted and sexually harassed by a prison guard.More

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