The scheduled trial of two Americans accused of espionage in Iran was delayed again Wednesday after the suspects were not brought from prison to the courthouse, a Swiss diplomat and their defense attorney told CNN.
"I have been able to verify that the session has actually been postponed due to the absence of the two prisoners. They were not brought in from prison," said an official with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, who, according to protocol, asked not to be identified. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran.
Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were set to stand trial on Wednesday. The two were charged with espionage after being arrested nearly 22 months ago while hiking along an unmarked border between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan. The two Americans were expected to appear in Branch 15 of Tehran's Revolutionary court Wednesday morning.
"There were no reasons given why they were not brought in," the diplomat said. Iranian authorities once again barred Swiss diplomats from monitoring the proceedings.
"Shane and Josh were not brought up from the jail to the courtroom today," said defense attorney Masoud Shafii. He said he also does not know the reason for the postponement, but does not believe it was because a third hiker released on bail, Sarah Shourd, did not return to Iran for proceedings.
The families of Bauer and Fattal said in a statement they also do not know why the two were not brought to court, "but we are even more deeply concerned for their health and welfare as a result of their non-appearance.
"Their unexplained absence from the hearing, and the fact that their lawyer, Mr. Masoud Shafii, continues to be denied access to Shane and Josh, is extremely troubling," the statement said.
The last time Fattal and Bauer appeared in court, Swiss diplomats and the prisoners' defense attorney also were not allowed into the courtroom. The hikers' trial began in February, but was delayed until Wednesday.FULL STORY