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2 Hikers Held In Iran To Return To US On Sunday

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NEW YORK (AP) — Two Americans released from an Iranian prison will return to U.S. soil Sunday after more being held for more than two years as accused spies.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were scheduled to return from the middle east Sunday afternoon, according to Samantha Topping, a spokeswoman for their families. She declined to publicly release details of their arrival.

The two were released from custody Wednesday and arrived in Oman under a $1 million bail deal. Their return to the U.S. will be the end of lengthy ordeal that began in July 2009 when they were detained along the Iran-Iraq border along with Sarah Shourd, who was released a year ago under similar terms.

While in prison, Bauer proposed to Shourd. She was with the families in Oman to greet the two on the tarmac at a royal airfield near the main international airport in Oman’s capital, Muscat. At about 20 minutes before midnight Wednesday, Fattal and Bauer, wearing jeans and casual shirts, bounded down the steps from the blue-and-white plane. The men appeared very thin and pale, but in good health.

The three always maintained their innocence, saying they were only hiking in Iraq’s relatively peaceful Kurdish region and might have accidentally wandered into Iran.

Last month, Fattal and Bauer were sentenced to eight years in prison each for illegal entry into Iran and espionage.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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