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Iran Sentences Roxana to Eight Years in Prison

with 8 comments

From the CPJ blog: “An Iranian court convicted journalist Roxana Saberi of espionage and sentenced her to eight years in prison today following a closed, one-day trial earlier this week, according to international news reports. Her lawyer said he will appeal.”

“Roxana Saberi’s trial lacked transparency and we are concerned that she may not have been treated fairly,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on the Iranian authorities to release her on bail pending her appeal.”

Her father, Reza Saberi, told NPR from Tehran that he was not allowed into the courtroom to hear the verdict.  Mr. Saberi also noted that Roxana denied the charge, accused Iranian authorities of coercing statements used against her in court, and vowed to go on a hunger strike.

See developing stories on this on Google News.

Written by Keith Kamisugi

April 18, 2009 at 7:13 am

8 Responses

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  1. Excuse me, but didn’t this lady break Iranian law? Why the big deal? She should serve her time and hopefully she will learn her lesson. She had no license to work as a journalist and also, according to reports, bought alcohol which is against the law. Just because we can get away with anything here in the west we have to learn how to respect other countries laws. No matter what we think of their governments.

    Walter

    April 18, 2009 at 8:09 am

  2. …and President Obama stays silent on another American taken hostage in Iran. Currently there are four Americans kept hostage in Iranian jails. They are Ms. Roxana Saberi an NPR reporter, Ms. Aasha Momeni University of California researcher, Ms. Sylvia Hartoonian Human Rights advocate, and Mr. Robert Levinson former FBI agent who mysteriously “disappeared” about a year ago on a business trip to Khark Island in Iran. Roxana has been in the news but the other three are forgotten by everybody.

    Ardy

    April 18, 2009 at 9:44 am

  3. Very sad this happened to her, and it’s a grievous injustice, but hardly surprising. It’s a bit like jumping into a tank full of sharks to study their feeding habits and acting surprised when they bite you.

    I think about the millions of dollars and endless hours that will be wasted on negotiating her release, and all the suffering her family will endure, and my sympathy for her becomes increasingly tempered by anger at her choices. I’ve seen myriad reports of her impeccable efforts at discretion and obeyance of local customs, and I shake my head in disbelief each time. She’s a single, American woman living in the midst of an oppressive, theocratic republic that has codified the subjugation of women into its legal doctrine, and she’s snapping flashbulbs for foreign papers and periodicals for nearly 6 years. She should have fled the country the minute her press credentials were revoked–it was clear at that point that her freedom was in danger. She ignored these omens and continued her work anyway.

    The fact that she believes that a hunger strike will deter the resolve of her captors further underscores her naivete and narcissism–she still believes that her life (and the life of women in general) has value in the eyes of a country that still turns a blind eye to honor killings.

    I wonder if this experience has satisfied her curiosity about Iranian culture. I understand that her mother is Japanese–if she gets out of this mess, maybe she can redirect her journalistic passions towards that side of her heritage.

    Stevo

    April 18, 2009 at 10:31 am

  4. I have a post about this on my blog for action that can be taken. Please help her.

    J. Edward Hackett

    April 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm

  5. Having been a woman whose ex thought it was justifiable to use my face and body as a punching bag to take out his rages against the world, I`m APPALLED at the “blame the victim” mentality I`ve read in the comments about this woman and the situation she`s in. Wonder if the reaction would be the same if she were a man….

    was abused

    April 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

  6. Thank you Stevo – your post was my thoughts on her self created situation exactly.

    Holly in Florida

    April 18, 2009 at 7:01 pm

  7. Roxana should mention that she was turtured,she cant say she was tricked to confession,every one knows sentence for spying in iran is death.for a professional journalist is a bit strange to be tricked like this.this is happning because some people in iranian government dont like to America and Iran’s relations to get better.

    Majid

    April 19, 2009 at 12:34 am

  8. To “Was Abused”…

    I don’t see how your abusive relationship relates to this woman’s story, and I think it’s a bit irresponsible and manipulative of you to exploit her case for your own emotional catharsis. This isn’t about you.

    To address your question, if she had been a man, my reaction would be no different, but unfortunately, Iran’s reaction likely would have. That’s my entire point–she knew Iran’s attitudes about women, and she either underestimated her risk, or ignored it completely. Women are essentially property in most parts of the Middle East, and I hardly think you can cry sexism for my indignation over this fact.

    I think the following is a fair analogy: if a woman walked down a dark alley in a dangerous part of town at 2 AM and got raped and murdered, we could all agree that the crime was egregious and despicable, but if that woman had a family at home and people who cared about her, I’d still be furious with her for making such a reckless, selfish, stupid choice. Enough said.

    Stevo

    April 19, 2009 at 10:05 am


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