Iranian-US Journalist to Be Released Soon

After an reduction of the eight-year jail sentence of the Iranian-American journalist by an appeal court, she will be released on Monday, said her lawyer. The journalist was convicted of spying charges for Washington.

A news agency quoted Saleh Nikbakht, one of the two lawyers who defended Roxana Saberi in an appeal hearing on Sunday, as saying that the court turned down the eight-year jail term and issued a two-year suspended prison term.

“The verdict was given to me in person today,” Nikbakht was quoted as saying. “The appeals court turned down the original sentence.”

“She will be released today,” Nikbakht said.

Reza, Saberi’s father, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, said that he was waiting for his daughter outside Evin prison. Saberi has been held in jail since January.

“In the next few days, we will make travel plans to return home,” he said.

Saberi, a freelance journalist working for National Public Radio and the BBC, has lived in Iran since 2003. She was arrested in late January for buying a bottle of wine, which is illegal in Iran. But the charges against her escalated to working without a press card and then spying for Washington. Her press card had been revoked in 2006.

Saberi, 32, was found guilty in April in a trial which according to her father lasted less than an hour. The State Department called the charges against Saberi baseless and asked for her release.

Soon after her sentencing, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the chief prosecutor to re-examine the case.

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