Josh Fattal’s family and friends brace for his trial in Iran

Come Wednesday, when American hiker Josh Fattal is finally to go on trial in Iran, the cozy den of his family’s home in Elkins Park will be a tense situation room – computers aglow, cellphones and landlines poised for overseas calls.

It will be 2 a.m. here when the proceeding begins in Tehran.

The case has dragged on for more than 20 months against a backdrop of worsening U.S.-Iranian relations. Court dates have been postponed twice since November.

“Iran obviously feels they have something extremely valuable, and they do – to us,” Josh’s brother, Alex, said Friday. “If Iran wants to make a statement to the United States, they should make a statement to the United States, not to three American families.”

Alex, 32, and his parents, Laura and Jacob Fattal, have campaigned tirelessly to win freedom for Josh and his hiking companion Shane Bauer of Minnesota. Both 28, the old friends from the University of California, Berkeley, were arrested on July 31, 2009, while trekking on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, and charged with entering Iran illegally. Iranian 

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