Though they've now spent exactly two years in an Iranian prison, Berkeley grads Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal had their final hearing yesterday in the trial that's been ongoing since February in an Iranian court. The hearing ended without a decision from the court, but rather with an announcement that they would make a decision next week, during Ramadan. Some observers in the case feel this is a good sign, since Ramadan is traditionally a month of peace and forgiveness.
But as one Iranian-born journalist tells ABC, there have been three Ramadans since the mens' capture in 2009, and the Iranian government didn't forgive them then. You'll recall that Fattal and Bauer, along with gal pal Sarah Shourd, were hiking around in the mountains of northern Iraq in July 2009 when they mistakenly crossed the border into Iran -- though the Iranians don't want to accept that it was a mistake. Shourd was later released in September 2010 on $500,000 bail due to some health issues.
Optimistically, Stanford professor Abbas Milani feels like after two years, the Iranians are now just looking for a face-saving measure in the case, and freeing the two men in the name of Ramadan, after this protracted trial, might just be it. We can only hope.