15 Sep 2010

Detained woman released by Iran

1:53 pm on 15 September 2010

Iran has released an American woman held for more than a year on suspicion of spying.

Sarah Shourd, 32, was detained near Iran's border with Iraq on 31 July, 2009, with two other Americans, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

The Tehran chief prosecutor said at the weekend that Miss Shourd would be freed when $US500,000 bail was paid, and could leave the country.

Miss Shourd's lawyer says she has been released and is heading to the Swiss embassy in Tehran.

The families of the three hikers - who are all Americans - say they crossed the border by mistake while hiking in the mountainous northern Iraqi region of Khormal.

Officials in Tehran said they had "suspicious aims" and that they intended to put them on trial for espionage.

The BBC reports Mr Bauer, 28, and Mr Fattal, 28, are still being held at Evin prison.

US officials have said the three - all graduates of the University of California, Berkeley - are completely innocent.

Ms Shourd says her priority now is to work for the release of her two companions.