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Lawyer says Shourd Family Can't Pay $500,000

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sarah shourd2 Lawyer says Shourd Family Can't Pay $500,000

The lawyer for an American woman detained in Iran says her family is appealing to authorities to drop a demand for $500,000 bail in exchange for her release because it cannot afford the amount.

Masoud Shafiei tells The Associated Press he is aware that Swiss diplomats – who handle U.S. affairs in Iran – are asking that the bail be dropped or lowered for Sarah Shourd. He says the family of the 32-year-old woman is apparently facing difficulty raising the money.

Shafiei says he has no word Monday on Iran’s response.

Iran’s judiciary granted the bail on health grounds Sunday. Shourd was detained in July 2009 along the border with Iraq with two American friends, who are also jailed in Tehran.

Iran has issued indictments on spy-related charges.

Earlier, Shafiei told CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer there had been no change in the case since Sunday when Iran’s judiciary said the 32-year-old woman could be released on health grounds after more than a year in custody.

Palmer reports that Shourd’s friends, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, are to stay in jail. All three say they were visiting a famous beauty spot on the border between Iraq and Iran when they were arrested.

The Iranian government says they were spying, and prosecutors say they are now finalizing an espionage case against the two men.

The decision to release Shourd came after a power struggle within Iran’s conservative leadership put her freedom in doubt.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had personally promised Shourd’s release on Friday as a sign of Islamic compassion at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, but was quickly rebuked by the judiciary which proceeded to set its own conditions for a release, including the bail amount.

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