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Iran to seize US woman's bail unless she returns

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Tehran's prosecutor said today Iran will seize the $500,000 bail posted by an American woman freed from prison last month if she does not return for the start of her trial on Nov. 6.

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Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying that Sarah Shourd can return to Iran and defend herself at the court.

Shourd was freed after 13 months in a Tehran prison and returned to the United States. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in prison and all three face trial on spying charges.

"Shourd has said she will return. According to the rules, we can invite them. She can attend the court and defend herself. But the bail will be confiscated if she doesn't return," ISNA quoted Dowlatabadi as saying.

The three Americans were reportedly hiking in July 2009 in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region, near the border, when Iranian forces took them into custody and accused them of intentionally crossing.

Iran initially accused them of illegal border crossing then later raised spying allegations. The U.S. government says the three are innocent.

According to a U.S. military report that is among a huge cache of documents posted Friday by the WikiLeaks website, the three were on the Iraqi side of the border at the time.

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