The lawyer for two Americans convicted of spying in Iran has said he will appeal their eight-year sentence.
The pair have already spent two years in Tehran’s most notorious jail and had been hoping to be freed.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested on the border with Iraq in 2009 where they said they were hiking and had crossed the frontier by accident.
“We have 20 days to appeal and I will try my best to use all legal means to annul the sentence,” lawyer Masoud Shafiee said. “It was my belief, and still is, that they are innocent and I have not seen any evidence that shows they are guilty.”
Bauer, 28, and Fattal, 29, share a cell in Tehran’s Evin prison. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges at their closed-door trial which ended on July 31.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed deep disappointment at the sentences. “We continue to call and work for their immediate release — it is time for them to return home and be reunited with their families,” she said.
The families of Bauer and Fattal made a similar plea. “We appeal to the authorities in Iran to show compassion and allow them to return home to our families without delay,” they said in a statement.
Bauer’s girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, 32, who was released on $500,000 bail in September, returned home to California where she has been campaigning for their freedom.