Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roxana Saberi

Breaking news this weak is the imprisonment of US-Iranian journalist, Roxana Saberi.

From Al Jazeera:
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has called for the "speedy release" of a US journalist convicted of spying in Iran.

Roxana Saberi was sentenced on Saturday to eight years in prison after a trial conducted behind closed doors in a court in Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Clinton on Monday dismissed the charges against the 31-year-old journalist as "baseless" and said her trial was "non-transparent, unpredictable and arbitrary".

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised Iran for arresting journalists and suppressing freedom of speech.

Tehran has arrested several Iranian-Americans in the past few years, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government through what it calls a "soft revolution".

Except for Saberi, they were never put on trial and were eventually released.
From Politico:
Saberi, a 31-year-old freelancer who has worked for several news organizations, including National Public Radio and the BBC, was convicted of espionage on Saturday and sentenced to eight years in prison during a one-day, closed-door trial. She was initially detained about three months ago for working as a journalist without proper credentials.

Her case is the latest public clash between Iran and the United States, which have been wrangling for years over Tehran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration has sought to engage Iran, but Tehran’s response often has been ambiguous; the Saberi case is no exception.

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Tehran’s prosecutor asking that Saberi and another detained journalist — Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan — receive fair appeals, according to Iran’s official government news agency, IRNA. The letter “called on Tehran’s prosecutor to precisely handle the case, observe administration of justice, and ensure that the accused persons can freely and legally defend themselves,” IRNA reported.

From the Tehran Times:
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has ordered a “fair appeal” for U.S.-Iranian national Roxana Saberi who was sentenced to 8 years on espionage charges, Judiciary spokesman announced on Monday.

Shahroudi’s order came after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said she must have the legal right to defend herself.

Alireza Jamshidi said Shahroudi has ordered “careful, quick and fair” consideration of Saberi’s appeal against the 8-year sentence.

Saberi, 31, moved to Iran six years ago and worked as a freelance journalist for National Public Radio and the BBC. She was arrested for working illegally since her press credential was revoked in 2006.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also advised foreign officials and individuals to avoid making hasty judgments over the Saberi case.

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