Iran Sentences American Hikers to Eight Years in Prison

Without presenting any evidence whatsoever to back up their claim, Iranian authorities have sentenced American hikers Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer to five years in prison for spying for the United States. And you thought American justice was bad!

Fattal and Bauer, who are both 28, will receive another three years in prison for illegally entering the riot-loving nation back in 2009, while they were hiking through the mountains of Iraq and accidentally stepped onto Iranian territory. They've got 20 days to appeal their convictions, as if that will do any good. At least they didn't get the death penalty, which is actually a sentencing option in Iranian espionage cases.

Apparently nobody from the Iranian court bothered to tell the hikers' lawyer, Masoud Shafiee, about his clients' sentencing, which is poor etiquette; he seems to have heard the news from reporters. It's not entirely clear whether the two men will get credit for the two years they've served, so they might end up doing 10 years; at least they'll know the answer eight years from now. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, had also been arrested with Fattal and Bauer but was released after posting $500,000 bail. Hmmm, maybe Fattal and Bauer should ask someone to find them $1 million? It's an idea.

Don't go accidentally hiking in Iran! Choose the Appalachian Trail instead; it's closer, will be cheaper to fly to, and very romantic this time of year.

[LA Times, Image via AP]