Iran Jails US Journo for Spying

Dual citizen slapped with 8-year sentence on 'baseless' spy charges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2009 7:02 AM CDT
Reza Saberi holds a picture of his daughter Roxana in his Fargo, N.D. home.   (AP Photo/The Forum, Jay Pickthorn)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – 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.