FreeRoxana campaign launches hunger strike in support of Roxana Saberi
For immediate release
Friday, May 1, 2009
Contact: Alexis Grant
FreeRoxana campaign member
Web site: freeroxana.net
The FreeRoxana campaign will launch a hunger strike Sunday in support of Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist jailed as a spy after a perfunctory trial in Tehran. More than 200 280 volunteers have agreed to fast in 24-hour shifts.
Roxana began a hunger strike of her own on April 21 to demand her freedom. A former star soccer player, the North Dakota native is strong, healthy and determined – but she needs to preserve her strength in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
WHEN: On Sunday, May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the FreeRoxana campaign will start a fluids-only hunger strike, so Roxana can end her fast.
The 12-day staggered fast will match Roxana’s personal hunger strike. Her parents, who have sworn to stay in Tehran until she is free, are passing the word to Roxana.
HOW IT WORKS: Volunteers around the world are signing up to fast for a day. Each day on freeroxana.net, we’ll list supporters who are fasting, plus their location.
LOCALIZE IT: Looking for a Roxana supporter in your coverage area who’s fasting? We’ll help you find one.
BACKGROUND: Roxana, 32, had been living in Iran for six years, working as a journalist, writing a book and studying at a university before she was arrested on Jan. 31.
She was held for 10 days before she was allowed to contact her family. First told she was in prison for buying a bottle of wine, she was later accused of working as a journalist without a press pass – and then, just before her closed-door trial, charged with espionage.
One week into Roxana’s hunger strike – which the Iranian authorities deny is real, although her father says she has lost 10 pounds – Reporters Without Borders began a hunger strike in solidarity. Now, the FreeRoxana Campaign expands that effort.
ABOUT FREEROXANA: A joint effort by members of the Asian American Journalists Association; professors, students and alumni of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Roxana’s alma mater; and other Roxana friends and supporters.