Hikers could be freed within days

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Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal have spent more than two years in prison in Iran.
courtesy Free the Hikers

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the American hikers who have been detained in Iran for more than two years, could be freed "in a couple of days," according to statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on NBC's "Today" show and reported by the Associated Press. An Iranian court has set bail for each of them at $500,000, clearing the way for their release.

Bauer and Fattal, both 29, were first taken to prison after Iranian officials picked them up while hiking near the Iranian border in Northern Iraq in July of 2009. They were taken into custody along with Sarah Shourd, Bauer's fiancee, who was released last year. Shourd, working alongside friends and family members, has organized numerous events in the Bay Area since returning to the United States to aid in the effort to free the hikers.

“While we do not have further details at this time, we are overjoyed by the positive news reports from Iran," the hikers' families noted in a statement. "Shane and Josh’s freedom means more to us than anything and it’s a huge relief to read that they are going to be released. We’re grateful to everyone who has supported us and looking forward to our reunion with Shane and Josh. We hope to say more when they are finally back in our arms."