Earlier, he was said to be “vacationing.” He must have partied hard, if you believe the official story. “Iranian Hikers’ Release Is Delayed Again,” by Kevin Dolak and Jim Sciutto for ABC News, September 20:
The release of the two U.S. hikers who have been jailed in an Iranian prison for over two years has been delayed again after the judge who must sign their release order didn’t appear in court.
Masoud Shafii, the lawyer representing jailed Americans Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, arrived at court Tuesday — the day the final judge needed to sign their release order was supposed to return from vacation — but was told that the judge was not in.
“I went to the court as I was told [by the judiciary], but the judge whose signature we needed is not back to work yet “¦ They said they will contact me as soon as the judge comes back to work,” Shafii told ABC News.
The continued delay of the Americans’ release may be a sign of a growing rift between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s ruling clerics, who control the courts.
Ahmadinejad announced plans to release Bauer and Fattal on $500,000 bail each last week, just ahead of his appearance before the U.N. General Assembly. Though one judge signed the paperwork Saturday, Ahmadinejad left for his meeting in New York on Monday with the two American still behind bars.
Sources in Iran told ABC News that they believe that it is unlikely Bauer and Fattal will be released while the Iranian president is in New York. The delay may be a possible attempt by Ahmadinejad’s political rivals to prevent him from gaining traction on the world stage.
Bauer and Fattal’s release has been beset by mixed signals since Ahmadinejad indicated a fast-track release last week. Iran’s judiciary, which is directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — swiftly reminded the public that only the courts have the power to control the release’s timing….