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Detained U.S. hiker could be freed as early as Monday

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Iran wants half mil for hiker's bail
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Everything is in place for the release," her lawyer says
  • Shourd has health problems, the attorney says
  • She is one of three American hikers held in Iran for more than a year and accused of spying

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers detained in Iran for more than a year, could be released as early as Monday once $500,000 is submitted to the Iranian judiciary.

"Everything is in place for the release," said lawyer Massoud Shafii, who got to see the hikers for the first time on Sunday. "It's up to the family when to deliver the money."

The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported earlier Sunday that Shourd will be released if bail worth about $500,000 for her is submitted to the Iranian judiciary.

"We are waiting for the bail set for Sarah Shourd to be deposited by (the) Swiss embassy in Iran," Shafii told the semi-official Iran Students' News Agency (ISNA) Monday. "... During my meeting with the client's family, we agreed to take measures for her release as soon as the money is provided."

Shafii said of Shourd on Sunday, "Naturally she was happy, but her wish is for all three to be released together." He met the Americans at Tehran's Evin prison after the prosecutor for Tehran's Revolutionary Court announced the offer to release Shourd on bail.

"I saw them and spoke to them," Shafii told CNN. "They were doing well."

Shafii said he doesn't know when exactly the release would take place.

Samantha Topping, a representative for the mothers of the hikers, said they are still taking in the news and are not yet making public comments. Topping had no comment on the bail money.

Switzerland, which represents U.S. interests in the country, had little information to release Sunday.

"Technicalities demanded by the attorney general are currently under consideration by the embassy in Tehran," Swiss Ambassador Livia Leu-Agosti told CNN.

Shourd had a pre-existing gynecological problem, but her family says she now also has a lump in her breast, according to Shafii. She still could be charged, and authorities would still expect her to come back to Iran for a trial. But other foreigners who have been released on bail after imprisonment in Iran have left the country and not come back.

Iranian officials had announced Thursday that Shourd would be released on Saturday, at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. But state media announced Friday that the release had been called off because legal procedures had not yet been resolved.

Video: Iran wants half mil for hiker's bail
Video: Moms work for hikers' release
RELATED TOPICS
  • Iran
  • Sarah Shourd
  • Shane Bauer
  • Josh Fattal

On Sunday, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced the country's "readiness for the conditional release of one of the three U.S. citizens arrested for illegally entering the country," state-run Press TV said.

A judge decided to allow Shourd to be released on bail because of an ailment, Dolatabadi said, according to IRNA.

Dolatabadi said Shourd would be free after bail is paid, but needs to take part in the trial when it is held, according to ISNA.

Shourd, 32, Shane Bauer, 28, and Josh Fattal, 28, were detained July 31, 2009, after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tehran has accused the three hikers of spying. Iran's intelligence minister has hinted the country may consider releasing them in exchange for the release of Iranian prisoners, according to state news outlets.

Dolatabadi said authorities completed investigations on espionage charges against the three Americans over the past several days and the indictments have already been issued by the judge in charge of the case, IRNA reported.

He said the arrest warrants have been issued for Bauer and Fattal.

The hikers' families' website, freethehikers.org, said Shourd has been in solitary confinement, able to meet for only two 30-minute periods per day with Bauer, who is her fiance, and Fattal. The two men share a cell. All three Americans are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley. They have been able to telephone their families only once, on March 9.

The United States and Iran have had no diplomatic relations for three decades, and Washington is not involved in moves to free Shourd, a State Department spokesman said Sunday.

"We are in wait-and-see mode. We want all three hostages released and returned," State Department spokesman Fred Lash told CNN.

The State Department is monitoring the situation, but all diplomacy is being handled by the Swiss Embassy, he said.

CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr, Reza Sayah, Tenisha Abernathy, Ross Levitt, Susan Candiotti and Nunu Japaridze contributed to this report.

 
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