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Former Cat Stevens Asks Iran To Free US Hikers

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US hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal detained in Iran. (credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

US hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal detained in Iran. (credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Yusuf Islam, the British musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, is calling for the release of two American hikers charged with spying in Iran.

A video from Islam has been posted on YouTube pleading for the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal on humanitarian and justice grounds. If there’s no clear evidence they’re anything other than hikers, he says, “then surely they should be free.”

Islam’s statement follows pleas by another prominent western Muslim, former boxing champ Muhammad Ali, who has written to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei twice on their behalf.

Fattal and Bauer were arrested in July 2009 while hiking in northern Iraq near the Iranian border. They’re due to go on trial May 11. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail in September.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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