Iran's decision to sentence two American hikers to eight years in prison for espionage and entering the country illegally has "deeply disappointed" the U.S., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday.
Tehran’s prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, told a news conference Sunday that Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal after their closed trial that ended on July 31.
The pair were arrested with a woman companion more than two years ago while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border.
Although the Islamic Republic presented no evidence publicly to back up the spying charge, Dolatababi said it had been proved in court, the New York Times reports, citing Iran’s official media.
Bauer, 28, and Fattal, 29, have 20 days to appeal the sentence, he said.
The men's lawyer reportedly said he would appeal the sentence.
"We have 20 days to appeal and I will try my best to use all legal means to annul the sentence," Masoud Shafiee told Reuters. "It was my belief, and still is, that they are innocent and I have not seen any evidence that shows they are guilty."
Shafiee said Bauer and Fattal were informed about the verdict Saturday, adding that he had not seen them in person. The two years they had already served would count towards their eight-year sentences, he said.
Clinton on Sunday joined President Barack Obama in expressing support for the pair and "deep disappointment" at the sentences, the Guardian reports.
"We continue to call and work for their immediate release — it is time for them to return home and be reunited with their families."
The hikers' families also released a statement saying that of the 751 days the men have been imprisoned, these last two have been the hardest, VOA reports.