Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Roxana Saberi on Trial

The imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was put on trial behind closed doors, Iran's judiciary announced. A verdict is expected within few weeks.

UPDATE: Roxana Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison for "espionage." The government did not release any details on the charges brought against the young journalist. Tehran, 18 April 2009.


Anonymous said...

Iran's deputy prosecutor for security issues Hassan Haddad had earlier declared that Saberi had confessed to having engaged in espionage activities under the guise of a reporter.

The 31-year-old, who reported for the BBC, NPR, and Fox News during her six-year stay in Iran, was arrested in January for working 'illegally' as a journalist after her press card was revoked in 2006.

Nader Uskowi said...

Never believe what the authorities say face value when it come to freedom of press cases. People in power see reporters as enemies.

Assume Roxana to be innocent until and if the government proves it otherwise. As much as this principle may inconvenience the authorities, it is the only way to respect journalists' rights.

In this case, the government is acting as prosector and judge combined into one, with no defense attorney allowed to attend the court sessions. That's what is "illegal."

Anonymous said...

well what if she is a spy whether she knew about it or not? a lot of the times. as a man with reason, you should open up a possibility for that as well, otherwise you turn to propagandist opposition figure as well who just put a negative sign on everything and anything that IRI claims!

Nader Uskowi said...

Putting a negative sign on everything and anything that IRI claims is not the way of this blog. We also welcome all kinds of comments from our readers, like yourself.

Thanks for your attention and participation in these discussions.

Shadow said...

I'm curious as to how much media attention this is getting inside Iran, and how it's playing for the regime. Any help for those of us who don't speak Farsi?

Anonymous said...

She should be punished if it is proved true without any serious doubts that she was an agent of US and Zionist Israel. I think 8 years is very lenient if the charges are true. I suspect that the charges are true as the protests by Zionist agents, and NGO's are quite mooted!

Nader Uskowi said...


This was a sham trial. When first arrested, Roxana was charged for purchasing a bottle of wine, an offense that does not carry any prison term in Islamic Republic. When she was in prison on that charge, she was charged for working as a journalist without proper work permit. This is an offense with no jail term. Then Tehran’s prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, charges her with spying, put her on a secret trial shortly after being charged, she is convicted and sentenced to eight years. The trial lasted less than a day, with no defense attorney allowed to attend the session.

The general feeling in Iran is that “espionage” charge was probably exaggerated and Roxana was being used as a pawn or hostage in order to be used in negotiations with the Americans on the fate of some Iranian prisoners in Iraq for some other “exchanges.”

President Ahmadinejad came out today calling on Mortazavi for “fair trial” of Roxana Saberi, and an Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshesh, who is also imprisoned [IRNA, 19 April]. Ahmadinejad is calling for fair trial after she was convicted! This is as close as the president could get to call her original trial unfair.

Let’s hope the latest comments by Ahmadinejad is an indication that Roxana will be retried and freed.