A statement from Sharon Chan, national president of the Asian American Journalists Association:
We are deeply concerned and disappointed at the sentencing of Roxana Saberi.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. We are distressed at the severity of her sentence, that her trial was held in secret without transparency and that her confession may have been coerced, according to her father. We urge that the Iranian government show compassion, and release her to be reunited with her family pending her appeal.
By all accounts of people who know her and who have worked with her — Roxana is a journalist, not a spy. An American of Iranian and Japanese descent, she crossed borders to report stories that shined a light into distant corners of the world. Her work was carried by NPR, the BBC and ABC News, organizations committed to fair, accurate and independent journalism.
The stories Roxana reported from abroad are crucial to understanding U.S. foreign policy and what it means to be a citizen of the world. With many newsrooms cutting their foreign coverage, the public is more reliant than ever on the work of freelance journalists willing to risk their personal safety so we may know more. Roxana went abroad because of her commitment to tell stories that would otherwise go untold.
With her unique cultural background, she brought a nuanced perspective to her stories. Roxana was devoted to discovering Iran, its culture and its people and sharing her knowledge with others.It is not and should not be a crime to be a journalist.
For more information contact Sharon Chan, (206) 228-8978, firstname.lastname@example.org