An Iranian-American journalist has been sentenced to 8 years in jail on spying charges that the US says are baseless, the BBC reports. Roxana Saberi, 31, was charged with buying alcohol without a license when she was first arrested in January, then with working without a press card, before Iranian authorities upgraded the charges against her to spying and convicted her in a closed-door trial this week.
Saberi, a former Miss North Dakota whose father is Iranian and mother is Japanese, had been working as a freelance journalist in Iran since 2003, for outlets including NPR, the BBC, and Fox News, and studying for her third masters degree. Her one-day trial does not seem to have been reported in Iranian media, a BBC correspondent notes. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded Saberi's immediate release earlier this week and Saberi's lawyer plans to appeal the sentence.