The Latest Developments in the Roxana Saberi Story

RoxnaRoxana’s parents plan to visit Roxana within a couple days. Through the Swiss, the US is demanding consular access to Roxana. Also, word from Iran is Roxana may not be going anywhere for up to two years, after they agreed to release her soon on March 6th.
First, on Roxana parents, via AP:

Parents of imprisoned journalist plan Iran trip

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The father of imprisoned journalist Roxana Saberi says he and his wife are making plans to go to Iran to see her in a couple of days.

“I’m hoping if she sees us, it will lift her spirits,” Reza Saberi said told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Regarding renewed US requests for consular access to Roxana and inspection of her living conditions, from AFP:

US renews call for Iran to release journalist

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States renewed its appeal to Iran Wednesday for the release of a US journalist who has been held in jail there since late January, and called on Tehran to allow her consular access.

“We continue to urge, through the Swiss, the Iranian government to allow consular access to Roxana Saberi,” said State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid at a press conference.

Iran’s judiciary has said dual US-Iranian national Saberi was arrested on the orders of a revolutionary court, which handles security charges in Iran, and kept in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Duguid said US officials have been in “regular contact” with the Swiss, whose consulate represents US interests in Iran.

On March 9, the ISNA news agency reported that Hassan Haddad, Tehran’s deputy prosecutor for security matters, said Saberi would be freed “within a few days.” But when the family’s lawyer attempted to make a bail payment, he was told that officials “cannot free her now.”

Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality and has had no ties with the United States for three decades, has detained several Iranian-Americans, including academics, in recent years.

Lastly, from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has been working tirelessly on Roxana’ s behalf:

Report says Iran may hold Saberi for prolonged period

New York, March 25, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a news report indicating that Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi might remain in a Tehran prison for a prolonged period.

In a telephone conversation with her father, Saberi said a prosecutor told her she would remain in detention for “months or even years,” The New York Times reported today.raddatz_saberi_iran_090303_mn

“We are very deeply concerned by the circumstances of Roxana Saberi’s detention,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “She continues to be held without charge, while officials have offered shifting reasons for her detention.”

The story to date. On February 1st, Roxana was apprehended by Iranian authorities, which have claimed both the purchase of alcohol, illegal in Islamic Iran, and the expiration of her journalistic credentials. Roxana has yet to be charged with a crime. On March 5th, Secretary of State Clinton demanded her release.

The very next day, Iranian authorities said Roxana would be released ‘soon’. On March 13th, Human Rights Watch declared Roxana Saberi’s continuing detention in Iran unlawful under international laws and conventions. It has now been twenty day since the Iranian authorities promised Roxana’s prompt release.

At present, Roxana’s mental state is deteriorating in Evin prison, and she is believed to be suicidal. Iranian.com reporter Haleh Bakhash has some insightful and interesting takes on the Roxana Saberi situation that extend far beyond Roxana.

As always, in all my reports and opinion pieces, contact info to help speed things up with Roxana.

Here’s the White House. Here’s the State Department. Here’s Congress.

Feel free to thank and rally even further Roxana’s true BFFs NPR, ABC, the BBC and the CPJ.

Please also phone it in to the Invisible Press: the New York Times, CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, and AP

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