Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Saga of Roxana Saberi

Photo credit: Eustacio Humphrey / ZUMA Press

I'm not certain that Roxana Saberi is a practicioner of the Muslim faith. If she is, that would explain reports that have described her as "doing well" in prison. I have a a very good Muslim friend, a young woman quite devout and I am as sure as I am tapping on this keyboard, there isn't anything she couldn't endure - her spirit cannot be broken - such is her faith in Allah and Islam.
On Thursday, Apr. 23, students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism will lead a rally in support of U.S. journalist and Medill alumna Roxana Saberi's release from Iranian imprisonment.

Students will gather in front of the journalism building, Fisk Hall, at 5:15 p.m. and begin marching at 5:30 p.m. The march will continue through campus and end at The Rock, where Medill Dean John Lavine, Professor Jack Doppelt and others will speak to express their support for Saberi and concern for her immediate release.

The Medill Undergraduate Student Advisory Council decided to organize the event in response to the Iranian government's decision to sentence Saberi to eight years in prison after convicting her of espionage.
Roxana Saberi is a 31-year old American journalist of Iranian and Japanese descent who was arrested in February 2009, and is being held in Iran on charges of espionage, which her lawyer and the U.S. Dept. of State call baseless.

Saberi is a freelance journalist who moved to Iran six years ago, and reports for NPR, the BBC, and other news organizations.

Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said he hopes that Saberi’s verdict will be reconsidered, according to the state Islamic Republic News Agency. “I hope the appeal decision will be made according to the law,” IRNA cited him as saying. Saberi has already lodged her appeal, he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervened two days ago in support of the 31-year-old journalist, urging Tehran’s chief prosecutor to allow Saberi to defend herself. Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahrudi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, yesterday ordered the appeal to be heard “quickly and fairly.”

Roxana Saberi grew up in Fargo, N.D., the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and Akiko Saberi, who is from Japan. She was chosen Miss North Dakota in 1997 and was among the top ten finalists in Miss America 1998. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with degrees in communication and French.

She holds her first Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and her second Master’s Degree in International Relations from Cambridge University. She is currently working on yet another Masters degreee in Iranian studies and international relations.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that in 2008, Iran was the sixth-leading jailer of journalists.

Aggregator

BBC Profile

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Monday for Iran to release journalist Roxana Saberi immediately, telling reporters at the State Department that the espionage charges levied against her were “baseless”:

She has been subjected to a process that has been non-transparent, unpredictable [and] arbitrary…. We hope that actions will be taken as soon as possible by the authorities in Iran, including the judiciary, to bring about the speedy release of Miss Saberi and her return home.

Earlier Monday, Iran’s Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi had called for a quick consideration of Saberi’s appeal, after she was convicted Saturday and sentenced to eight years in jail. Source: Christian Science Monitor

What You Can Do

Officials in Iran need to know your concern for Roxana Saberi and your desire to return her home, and while she is in Iran to have a fair appeals process.

Write to:
His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
622 Third Ave.
New York, NY 1007
e-mail: iran@un.int

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