Middle East

Iran Sets Date for Trial of American Hikers

In this May 20, 2010 file photo, American hikers Shane Bauer, left, Sarah Shourd, center, and Josh Fattal, sit at the Esteghlal Hotel in Tehran, Iran.

In this May 20, 2010 file photo, American hikers Shane Bauer, left, Sarah Shourd, center, and Josh Fattal, sit at the Esteghlal Hotel in Tehran, Iran.  (AP)

TEHRAN, Iran -- The Iranian government says a second session in the trial of three Americans accused of spying will be held May 11.

The Sunday report by the official IRNA news agency quotes Ali Reza Avaei, head of Tehran's justice department, as saying that the upcoming session will likely be closed, as the first one was on Feb. 6.

Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were hiking in northern Iraq near the Iranian border in July 2009 when Iranian forces detained them. Iranian officials have accused them of spying for the U.S., but the Americans and their families say the espionage charges are untrue.

Bauer and Fattal pleaded not guilty in the February session. Shourd was released on bail last September and pleaded not guilty in absentia.