Related News

Home » World

US reporter released from Iranian jail on appeal

AN American journalist jailed in Iran was freed yesterday and reunited with her parents after an appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence on charges of spying for the United States.

Her parents said they would bring her home to the US within days.

The release of Roxana Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, clears a major snag in US President Barack Obama's efforts to engage Iran in a dialogue after decades of shunning the country. Washington had called the charges against Saberi baseless and repeatedly demanded her release.

Saberi's arrest in late January, followed by a secretive, one-day trial and a heavy prison sentence, prompted sharp US criticism. Soon after, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials appeared to back off, suggesting the sentence could be reversed.

Yesterday, an appeals court reduced her jail term to a two-year suspended sentence, Iran's judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters. Jamshidi said she was free to leave Iran.

"I'm very happy that she is free. Roxana is in good condition," Saberi's Iranian-born father Reza Saberi said after her release.

"We had expected her release but not so soon. She will be preparing to leave (Iran) tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," he told reporters at his house in Tehran.

Her family lives in Fargo, North Dakota, in the US, and her parents have been in Iran for several weeks seeking their daughter's freedom. At one point, the journalist held a two-week hunger strike protesting her imprisonment, but ended it after two weeks for health reasons.

Her parents were reunited with their daughter at Tehran's Evin prison, where Roxana had been held since her arrest. Outside the prison, Saberi's mother was smiling, while her father appeared overcome by emotion. They were later whisked away outside a back door, out of sight of journalists.

The judiciary spokesman, Jamshidi, said the appeals court reduced her sentence as a gesture of "Islamic mercy" because she had cooperated with authorities and had expressed regret.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend