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Roxana Saberi Appeal Will be Heard, Ends Hunger Strike

Iranian-American Journalist Roxana Saberi, who continues to be imprisoned in Iran, ended a hunger strike Monday that she had initiated two weeks ago. Saberi is in the process of appealing an espionage conviction and her appeal will be heard next week. Her father told the New York Times that she decided to end the strike for health reasons. TIME reported that she ended the strike after learning that an appeal of her conviction will be heard next week. Iranian officials have continuously denied the hunger strike and insist that Saberi is in good health.

Saberi was initially arrested in February, purportedly for buying a bottle of wine. After several weeks, Iran’s judiciary announced she was being held for working without press credentials. In March, she was charged with espionage and being an American spy. She was sentenced to 8 years in prison after a one day, closed-door trial. Iran’s Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi was hired to represent Saberi during her appeal, but Ebadi’s team has been replaced by a new team of lawyers because the court refused to let Ebadi’s team meet with Saberi in prison, according to the New York Times.

No evidence against Saberi has been released by the Iranian government. The United States has called the charges against her “baseless” and reports indicate that she may have been forced to make incriminating statements while imprisoned.

Sources:

New York Times 5/6/09; TIME 5/7/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/28/09; BBC 5/6/09