Saberi: I Confessed After 'Severe Mental Pressure'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 5:07 PM CDT
Roxana Saberi, upon arriving back in the US last week.   (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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(Newser) – Roxana Saberi tells NPR that she falsely confessed to being a spy because she was under "severe psychological and mental pressure" from Iranian authorities. Saberi says she wasn't physically tortured in prison, but she was subjected to hours of interrogation and threatened with a 20-year prison sentence or execution if she didn't confess. She did so, then recanted, and quickly got sentenced to 8 years anyway. Saberi's back in the US now after a judge modified the sentence.

The 32-year-old journalist says she was working on a book about Iranian culture and had no classified documents as prosecutors claimed. Authorities initially forced her to lie to her parents about her arrest, thus leading to the false claim of being caught for buying alcohol. She also explains why she stopped her hunger strike: her mother threatened to go on one herself if she didn't eat.