Release papers for the two Americans held prisoner in Iran will be signed by Tuesday, September 20, the defence attorney for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal told the Associated Press.

Massoud Shafii said one of the judges in the case has already signed the papers and another one, who is currently on vacation, will sign them tomorrow after his return.

The two Americans were arrested in the Iran-Iraq border region in the summer of 2009, together with their companion Sarah Shourd. They were later accused of espionage by Iranian authorities but always claimed to be innocent hikers.

While Shourd was released on bail last September and is currently in the U.S., Fattal and Bauer were tried last month and sentenced to three years for illegal entry and another five years for espionage.

Last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that the two would be released on bail, but the judiciary later denied the statement, saying the appellate court judges have not yet issued a decision.

Some media have reported that the governments of Iraq and Oman mediated for the release of the U.S. citizens. Reports also indicate that an Oman state airplane has arrived in Iran to take Bauer and Fattal out of the country.