American Journalist Saberi Jailed for Eight Years

roxanasaberi1_lowres.jpgOver the weekend American journalist Roxanna Saberi was sentenced, behind closed doors, to eight years in an Iranian prison. Saberi was rushed to trial last week under charges of espionage (she was initially arrested for working without credentials).

News of the arrest elicited an immediate response from a number of news organizations Saberi had worked for here, including NPR and ABC News (in full after the jump), while the White House initially used “cautious language” when addressing the situation. On Sunday President Obama followed up saying: “She is an American citizen, and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage,” Obama said. “She is an Iranian American who was interested in the country which her family came from. And it is appropriate for her to be treated as such and to be released.”

Also on Sunday Iranian president Ahmadinejad publicly stated that Sabieri should be allowed to fully defend herself on appeal.

Meanwhile, a Free Roxana twitter feed has been started, and is carrying all the latest updates


NPR’s president and CEO Vivian Schiller: “We are deeply distressed by this harsh and unwarranted sentence. Ms. Saberi has already endured a three month confinement in Evin Prison, and we are very concerned for her well-being. Through her work for NPR over several years, we know her as an established and respected professional journalist. We appeal to all of those who share our concerns to ask that the Iranian authorities show compassion and allow her to return home to the Untied States immediately with her parents.” (NPR also featured an interview with Saberi’s father on Weekend Edition.)

ABC News: “We are distressed by the sentence of espionage delivered to our colleague Roxana Saberi today. There was no evidence of espionage made public and her trial was conducted in secret. Roxana’s friends and colleagues at ABC News are extremely concerned for her well-being and our thoughts have been with Roxana and her family throughout this ordeal. We urge the Iranian government to release Roxana to her family immediately.”