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Roxana Saberi Returns to US, Greeted by Clinton

Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday after returning to the United States late last week. Saberi was released from prison in Iran earlier this month after appealing a baseless espionage conviction.

Reuters reported that, in March, State Department staff passed a letter to Iran’s delegation at a Hague conference urging that Saberi be freed. A campaign run by the Feminist Majority Foundation resulted in thousands of letters being sent to Iranian and international officials in support of Saberi’s release. During Saberi’s meeting with Clinton, she said “When I found out that I had the support while I was in prison, I gained a lot of strength and hope and I didn’t feel so alone anymore,” according to a State Department press release.

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. The United States called the charges against her “baseless” and reports indicate that she may have been forced to make incriminating statements while imprisoned. According to the Washington Post, Iranian authorities reduced Saberi’s sentence from 8 years to a 2-year suspended sentence as a result of her appeal. This means that if she commits a crime in the next 5 years, the 2-year sentence would go into effect. Saberi is also banned from working as a reporter in Iran for the next 5 years.

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 5/11/09; Washington Post 5/12/09; Reuters 5/27/09; State Department Press Release 5/27/09

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