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Tue May 24 19:44:04 SAST 2016

Three US prisoners freed by Iran due in Switzerland: ministry

AFP | 17 January, 2016 19:17
The four Americans are Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, former US Marine Amir Hekmati and a fourth man named Nosratollah Khosravi. File photo
Image by: WASHINGTON POST / REUTERS

Three US citizens freed by Iran in a prisoner swap after more than a year of secret negotiations on Swiss soil are due to arrive in Switzerland later Sunday, the foreign ministry confirmed.

"A Swiss plane with a (foreign ministry) representative and several doctors on board is bringing back three of the American prisoners detained in Iran, along with the mother and wife of one of them," the ministry said in a statement.

After landing in Switzerland, the five will then leave for an American base in Germany, the ministry said, without disclosing where the plane would arrive.

It said the prisoner swap -- involving four Americans and seven Iranians -- followed 14 months of confidential discussions in Switzerland.

The four Americans are Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, former US Marine Amir Hekmati and a fourth man named Nosratollah Khosravi.

Khosravi, an Iranian-American about whom little is known, did not leave Iran.

A fifth American, identified as language student Matt Trevithick, had already left the country as part of a separate release, a US official said.

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