'Missing' Journalist Is in Tehran Jail: Iran

Freelancer locked up after allegedly buying a bottle of wine
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 8:23 AM CST

(Newser) – A day after an Iranian-American journalist's father said her whereabouts were unknown after an arrest a month ago, Iran today said she is being held in a Tehran jail for political prisoners, Reuters reports. The Iran foreign ministry said Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old who has reported for the BBC and NPR, was detained for working in the country illegally. Her press card was withdrawn about 2 years ago, but she had been doing research for a book on Iranian society.

The journalist's father said she was arrested on Jan. 31 for buying a bottle of wine, a crime under Islamic law. But her detention was ordered by a revolutionary court—the branch of Iran's judiciary that handles state security issues. The United States has no diplomatic representation in Iran, so it is asking Switzerland to seek information about Saberi's situation; so far, there has been no response.