Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, as well as their families back home, have already endured two difficult years
Sarah Shourd, center, stands with Cindy Hickey, mother of Shane Bauer, left, and Laura Fattal, mother of Josh Fattal during a 2010 news conference. Stephen Chernin / AP
The day after U.S. hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced to eight years hard time in Iranian prison, their devastated families were laying low -- and planning to support the boys' Iranian lawyer, Massoud Shafei, as he prepared their appeal.
"Of the 751 days of Shane and Josh's imprisonment, yesterday and today have been the most difficult," they said in a joint statement. Their sons, both 29, "are innocent and have never posed any threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran, its government or its people."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed "disappointment" that the men had not been freed. The conviction, on charges of illegal entry and espionage, dashed hopes raised earlier this month, when an Iranian official said he thought the conclusion of the trial -- which came after Bauer and Fattal had already served two years behind bars -- could lead to their immediate freedom. "We are encouraged that the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said he hopes the case will proceed in a manner that will result in Shane and Josh's freedom. We appeal to the authorities in Iran to show compassion and allow them to return home to our families without delay," the families said at the time. Shafei had speculated that they could be set free as a goodwill gesture during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year falls in August.