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Iran's court hears appeal by detained US-Iranian reporter

AN Iranian court today began hearing an appeal by detained US-Iranian reporter Roxana Saberi who has been charged espionage, Iran's satellite channel Press TV reported.

Saberi's lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi was quoted as saying that he thought there would be reduction in her eight-year sentence on charges of espionage for the United States.

"It is possible that the appeal verdict will be issued today," Khorramshahi said.

Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American national, had reported as a freelance journalist for various news organizations including the BBC and US National Public Radio (NPR).

According to Iranian authorities, Saberi had been denied press credentials since 2006, but she defied the ban and continued her journalistic activities.

Saberi was born in the United States and her father is an Iranian. She was arrested in Iran in the second half of January 2009 on charges of spying for the United States.

Last month, Iran's revolutionary court sentenced the US-Iranian journalist to eight years in jail on charges of espionage.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for a re-examination of the spy case, saying that "We hope the actions will be taken as soon as possible by the authorities in bring about the speedy release of Ms. Saberi and her return home (to the United States)."

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi has asked the United States not to interfere with this issue, saying the case is a strictly domestic matter and other countries should end hyping the issue.


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