Roxana Saberi
Photo: AFP

Iran convicts US journalist of spying

Tehran court sentences Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison for allegedly spying on behalf of United States after swift, closed-door trial

An Iranian court convicted American journalist Roxana Saberi of espionage and sentenced her to eight years in prison. Her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, said he intends on filing an appeal.


The American-Iranian citizen was arrested in January and initially accused of working without press credentials, but later, an Iranian judge charged her with spying for the United States. The US State Department called the charges baseless and demanded her release.


Saberi, 31, is from Fargo, North Dakota and worked as a freelance reporter for news organizations the likes of National Public Radio (NPR), the BBC and Fox News, and had lived in Iran for six years prior to her arrest.  She has been held in a Tehran prison since January and went on trial behind closed doors on Monday.


The court ruling comes despite calls by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Saberi's release and President Barack Obama's diplomatic overtures to Iran.


The sentence is the harshest meted out to a dual-national on security charges. Several US-Iranians, including academics, have been detained in recent years on security accusations but released in months.


In March, foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said Saberi's press card was revoked in 2006 and since then she had been working "illegally".


Last month the parents appealed to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for her release, saying she was in a "dangerous" mental state.


פרסום ראשון: 04.18.09, 14:06
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