U.S. hikers' trial in Iran delayed

The judge, prosecutor and lawyer showed up Saturday, but the defendants didn't.

Masoud Shafii, the lawyer representing two young Americans held in Iran and accused of espionage, said everything was in place for a long-scheduled court hearing except the two Americans themselves.

Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer are being held in Tehran's Evin Prison. They were arrested in July 2009 for allegedly straying into Iranian territory during a hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan.

After a third American, Sarah Shourd, was freed on bail in September, Iranian authorities said the other two would stand trial Saturday.

But earlier in the week, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary said he doubted the hearing would take place. He said he had heard from unnamed sources that authorities wanted Shourd to return from the United States to stand trial as well.

Shafii said he didn't receive any official notification, and appeared at the Revolutionary Court at 10 a.m., as did the judge and a prosecutor.

"We waited for 45 minutes, but the two hikers were not brought from Section 209 of Evin Prison," he told The Times.

They logged the court session and left the courthouse, he said, adding that the judge told him he would be informed later of a trial date.

Mostaghim is a special correspondent.

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