Journalist Roxana Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being charged with espionage and spying for the United States. This was determined after a one day, closed-door trial—and the Iranian government has released no evidence against Saberi.
According to The New York Times:
“The State Department has called the charges against Ms. Saberi baseless and has asked for her release.
Ms. Saberi, who holds dual American-Iranian citizenship, grew up in Fargo, N.D., and went to Iran in 2003. She has worked for the B.B.C. and National Public Radio. Her press credentials were revoked three years ago, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hassan Qashqavi.
She was arrested in January 2009 and was initially accused of working without press credentials. But an Iranian judge brought more serious charges against her in April. Her father, Reza Saberi, said that her trial had lasted less than an hour.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement saying that the U.S. will “continue to continue to vigorously raise our concerns to the Iranian government.”
The NYT also had a great blog on April 20, “Behind Bars in Iran,” featuring comments from other people who have been jailed in Iran or worked with journalists detained there. Reading their stories reminds us why it’s so imperative to help free Roxana Saberi.
Reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling are being charged with similar crimes in North Korea. I urge you to read Gotham Chopra’s thoughtful and useful story in The Huffington Post about how we can help all three of these women return safely home.