Families maintain hope Iran will release hikers

August 21, 2011 - 8:25 AM
Mideast Iran US Hikers

FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 file photo, US hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal, attend their trail at the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Iran. The website of Iran's state TV reported Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011 that two American hikers held in Iran have been sentenced to 8 years in jail each. (AP Photo/Press TV, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The families of two Americans imprisoned in Iran say the news that the men have been sentenced to eight-year terms has hit them hard.

A statement sent Sunday by spokeswoman Samantha Topping says this weekend has been the hardest yet for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal's families after they learned Saturday the men had been convicted of espionage and would not be released.

The two men have been imprisoned for more than two years. They say they mistakenly crossed into Iran while hiking in Iraq.

Their Iranian lawyer told The Associated Press he will appeal their convictions, and their families say they are encourage by statements from Iran's foreign minister, who has said he hopes they will eventually be released.

Bauer grew up in Minnesota, while Fattal is from Pennsylvania.