Iran frees female US hiker

Iran frees female US hiker

Shroud is to leave Iran for the US either via Dubai or a European city, but it was believed she would be medically examined before she could return home to Berkeley, California.

The 31-year-old Shroud was supposed to be freed Saturday after the approval of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the government but the judiciary blocked the release. Tehran public prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said due to her sickness -- apparently a lump in her breast -- and need for specialised medical care, Shroud could leave the country but only on bail amounting to $500,000 as the charges against her were still valid.

Iranian authorities arrested Shroud, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal in July, 2009 when they allegedly crossed an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Iranian intelligence later accused the three hikers of spying, but the foreign ministry said that the main charge remained illegal entry and that the espionage charges were still under investigation.

Jafari Dolatabadi said the three have not confessed to espionage but the Iranian security authorities had enough evidence to prove the spying charges. The Tehran prosecutor said that Bauer and Fattal would therefore remain in jail and Shroud would also be obliged to attend the trial.

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