Iran frees American woman hiker on bail: prosecution website

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American hiker Sarah Shourd, held in Iran for more than a year on suspicion of spying, has been released on bail, the Tehran prosecution announced on its website on Tuesday.

"Sarah Shourd has been handed over to the officials of the Swiss embassy in Iran which represents US interests after she was freed from jail," the website said.

"The case inspector informed the Tehran prosecutor about a bank guarantee concerning the posting of bail and after the prosecutor's agreement, he issued the order for her freedom."

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi had said on Sunday that Shourd would be released on bail of around 500,000 dollars.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran, however, denied the reports of Shourd's release. A Swiss diplomat told AFP that Shourd "has not yet been released," but indicated that "the release will take place very soon."

The Swiss embassy manages US interests in Iran as Washington and Tehran have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

© 2010 AFP

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