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Media & Communications Law

Freelance US Journalist Arrested in Iran

Posted Mar 3, 2009 10:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A freelance U.S. journalist of Iranian nationality reportedly is being held on unknown charges in Iran.

According to her father, Roxana Saberi was taken into custody after buying a bottle of wine, which is forbidden in the Islamic republic. However, he believes her work as a journalist is what got her into trouble, reports Agence France-Presse. Saberi has lived there in Iran about six years and was writing a book about the country.

Her Iranian-born father, Reza Saberi, who lives in North Dakota, told the news agency's Chicago correspondent today that the family is simply seeking a "fair trial" for the 31-year-old woman. "Our next step is to send a lawyer to the prison, and we'll see what steps they want us to take," he says.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hasan Qashqavi, also points to Saberi's work as the issue behind her arrest, which apparently occurred some three weeks ago:

"Her accreditation was over in 2006 after Iranian authorities revoked her press card," says Qashqavi. "Her activities since 2006 were completely illegal and unauthorized."

Additional coverage:

ABC News: "No-Man's Land Inside an Iranian Police Station"

The Lede (New York Times): "Iran Says an American’s Reports Were ‘Illegal’"

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