American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been released from prison in Iran, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.
They were released on bail and are currently at the Omani envoy in Tehran, await deportation to Oman. Although Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is currently at the United Nations in New York, did not say who paid the $500,000 bail for each of the men, Oman's Sultan Qaboos has been active in the fight to free Fattal and Bauer.
Their release finally signals an end to a two-year saga. In 2009, Fattal and Bauer, along with Bauer's girlfriend Sarah Shourd, were arrested during a hiking trip for illegally crossing into Iran from Iraq. Iranian authorities detained them as American spies.
Shourd was freed last year, but Fattal and Bauer were kept in a notorious Tehran prison.
In recent weeks, the situation became rather unstable. Reports that the hikers would be freed came from Iran, and then were denied. And when Iran finally set bail for Fattal and Bauer, the process was again stalled for days, allegedly over paperwork.
But the hikers are now free, and, if things go as planned, will return home to California soon.
“The case is over,” concluded the men's Iranian lawyer Masoud Shafiei,