Friends fast to mark Pa. hiker’s birthday in Iran

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Supporters of a hiker from suburban Philadelphia being held in Iran are fasting to protest his second straight birthday behind bars.

Elkins Park, Pa., resident Josh Fattal (fuh-TAHL’) turns 29 on Saturday. He and 28-year-old Shane Bauer have been imprisoned in Tehran since July 2009 on espionage charges.

Bauer’s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail last year and returned to the United States. Shourd grew up in Los Angeles. Bauer is form Onamia, Minn.

The three say they inadvertently crossed from Iraq into Iran.

Fattal’s family and friends say in a statement they’ll fast Saturday as part of a rolling hunger strike begun by the men’s mothers last month.

The hikers were scheduled to be in court in Tehran on May 11 but didn’t appear. No explanation was given to their families or their Iranian lawyer.

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