Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, two Americans arrested for espionage when they accidentally wandered over the border into Iran in 2009, have been released from a prison in Tehran.

The men, both 29, were hiking in Iraq’s Kurdish region and unwittingly crossed the border into neighboring Iran, resulting in their sentencing last month to eight years in prison and setting off an international firestorm.

Because the US has no diplomatic relations with Tehran, Switzerland represented American interests in the case. The men’s Iranian attorney, Masoud Shafiei, obtained a bail-for-freedom deal in exchange for a total $1 million bail that was paid by the Arab state of Oman.

“I have finished the job that I had to do as their lawyer,” Shafiei said.

Last week, ahead of his arrival at the UN General Assembly in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the men would be released as a humanitarian gesture.

Bauer and Fattal maintain their innocence and deny the espionage charges against them. They will be flown to Oman before going home to the US.


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