U.S. Journalist Is Being Tried Behind Closed Doors in Iran

Friday, April 17, 2009
Roxana Saberi with former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami

The secret trial of freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American arrested in Tehran in January, began on Monday. Charged with spying for the United States, Saberi went to Iran six years ago, filing reports for the BBC and National Public Radio. Even though she had her press credentials revoked by the Iranian government three years ago, she decided to remain in the country and continue her reporting. Her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, has refused to speak to reporters, saying he was not authorized to talk about the case until after the trial.

Saberi, a 31-year-old with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and was chosen Miss Noth Dakota in 1997.
Her ordeal comes just as the Obama administration is trying to foster better relations with Iran. The Tehran government has demonstrated a mixed record with cases similar to that of Saberi. Two Iranian-American scholars, Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, who were arrested in 2007 on charges of trying to overthrow the government, were released later that year. But Silva Harotonian, an Iranian woman of Armenian descent who was working for the Washington-based International Research & Exchanges Board, a nonprofit education organization, was sentenced to three years in prison on January 19, 2009, for crimes against national security.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
American Journalist Stands Trial in Iran (by Nazila Fathi, New York Times)


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