Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trying to explain the Saberi case

By Jon Leyne
BBC News, Tehran

It all came down in the end to a piece of paper.

Two years ago, the young Iranian-American Roxana Saberi did some translation work for the Expediency Council, a part of the Iranian government.

She made a copy of a classified document about the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Two years later that would lead to her being arrested, held for three-and-a-half months in Evin prison, charged with spying, and sentenced to eight-year jail term.

According to her lawyers, at her appeal hearing last week, Ms Saberi admitted to possession of the document, but denied passing it to a "hostile power".

The court accepted her argument, and reduced her sentence from eight years to a two-year suspended term, which left her free to leave the country.

For anyone who knows Roxana Saberi, the idea that she was a spy was faintly ridiculous. And working as a journalist without a press card would be the worst possible cover.

More at the BBC
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