Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports. The dispatch begins:
An Iranian court convicted journalist Roxana Saberi of espionage and sentenced her to eight years in prison today following a closed, one-day trial earlier this week, according to international news reports. Her lawyer said he will appeal. “Roxana Saberi’s trial lacked transparency and we are concerned that she may not have been treated fairly,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on the Iranian authorities to release her on bail pending her appeal.”
You have to wonder if Saberi has been caught up in the byzantine workings of internal Iranian politics. President Obama has attempted to find an opening to the regime. Iranians who don’t want to see any contacts between Iran and the United States obviously stand to benefit from Saberi’s imprisonment.
Obama now pretty much can’t — and shouldn’t — have anything to do with the Iranian government unless it releases Saberi. Which it won’t.
Here is a link to the CPJ’s online petition demanding freedom for Saberi. I’m going to go sign the Facebook version right now.
More: I see that the petition is now closed. But I joined the CPJ’s Facebook group, and urge you to do the same.
Still more: According to Global Voices Online, an Iranian blogger says Saberi is being held so that she can be used as a pawn in a prisoner swap.
Photo of Saberi with former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.