International

Swiss Embassy Asks Iran To Drop Bail Demand For Imprisoned U.S. Hiker

(FILES) -- An undated photo provided on

An undated photo, provided on August 20, by the Shourd family, shows Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers being held in Iran. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption AFP/Getty Images

The Embassy of Switzerland in Iran, which represents U.S. interests there, has asked the Iranian government to drop the demand for bail in the case of Sarah Shourd, NPR's Mike Shuster reports.

She has been held in Iran for more than a year. In 2009, she and two of her companions were seized at the Iran-Iraq border, where they were hiking.

Iran's government claims they are spies, but last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Shourd would be released as a good-will gesture at the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

One day later, the Iranian judiciary said that wouldn't happen, insisting Shourd pay a $500,000 bail.

According to Shuster, "Shourd's family has said they cannot pay the required bail." They have also said she is in need of medical attention.

A spokeperson for the Department of State said the U.S. government is maintaining close contact with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran.

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