The families of University of California, Berkeley graduates Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal said in statement Sunday that they have hired a prominent lawyer in Iran to work for their release.
The statement says the families have retained attorney Masoud Shafii and hope hope Iran will release the three Americans on humanitarian grounds but feel the need to prepare for possible charges.
Iranian prosecutors said Tuesday that the three remain under investigation. The families maintain that they are innocent hikers who went astray. They have even released video that shows the trio dancing, singing and joking before they went on that fateful hike. They say the video proves the three were on a vacation and had no underhand intentions.
Shafii previously represented two internationally renowned Iranian AIDS physicians convicted in January of taking part in a U.S.-backed plot to overthrow Iran's Islamic regime.
The families say the three still have not been allowed to call home from the prison in Tehran where they're being held. In Sunday's statement, relatives say they are "increasingly concerned about their state of mind after almost five months of isolation.Their lack of contact with us and the persistent uncertainty are deeply distressing, especially in light of earlier indications that the case would be handled expeditiously."