Hasan Sarbakhshian/AP
Reza Saberi and his wife Akiko, parents of US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, wait
outside of Evin prison before their daughter is released, in Tehran, Iran.

Iranian-American Journalist Freed From Iranian Prison

May 11, 2009 02:30 PM
by Kate Davey
Roxana Saberi, previously sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison on espionage charges, has been released by an appeals court.

"Tears of Joy"

On Monday, Roxana Saberi was freed from an Iranian prison after an appeals court reduced her original sentence from eight years in prison to a two-year suspended prison term.  As The New York Times reports, Saberi had been held in the Evin prison since January; she is now allowed to leave the country if she chooses.

According to The Los Angeles Times, her father, Reza Saberi, explained that although Saberi’s sentence has been suspended, the conviction of espionage remains. Saleh Nikbakht, Saberi’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times that the appellate court reduced her sentence because it ruled that the court that had originally tried Saberi, Iran's Revolutionary Court, had used the wrong penal code to try her.

Background: Saberi found guilty of espionage

After a one-day, closed-door trial, American journalist Roxana Saberi was found guilty of espionage on April 18 by an Iranian Court, and given an eight-year sentence. Saberi was born and raised in Fargo, N.D., but has dual American-Iranian citizenship through her father, who was born in Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi had both requested that Saberi be given the chance to defend herself. Members of the international community, including the European Union and U.S. Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton, asked for her release.

Soon after her conviction, Saberi began a hunger strike, saying that she would not eat until she was released. According to CNN, her parents were concerned about her health and begged her to end the strike; she did so on May 4, after two weeks without eating.

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