Saberi’s fiance writes passionate letter in her defense

Internationally acclaimed Kurdish Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi published a letter today on the Web site of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about his fiancee, jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi. 

Titled “To Roxana Saberi, Iranian with an American passport” Ghobadi describes the day Roxana was picked up: “It was the 31st of January. The day of my birthday. That morning, she called to say she would pick me up so we would go out together. She never came. I called on her mobile, but it was off.”

Saberi was detained in January and has been held since at Tehran’s Evin Prison. She was first accused of working as a journalist without credentials, but on April 18, a Revolutionary Court convicted her of espionage. Since 2003, Saberi has lived in Iran, and the last six years, she has reported for National Public Radio, the BBC, and ABC News, among other international news organizations. Her press credentials were revoked in 2006, but Saberi continued to file short news items with government permission, according to NPR.

Ghobadi expresses his incomprehension of the Iranian authorities’ charges against Saberi: “How come someone who would spend days without going out of her apartment, except to see me; someone who… would carefully spend her money, and had sometimes trouble making a living; someone who was looking for a sponsor to get in contact with a local publisher so her book would be printed here (in Iran); could now be charged with a spying accusation?!”

On Sunday, the Iranian president and the country’s chief justice ordered a review of Saberi’s case, reviving hope that she might be released. 

“I am optimistic about her release,” Ghobadi writes, “and I firmly hope the verdict will be cancelled in the next stage of the trial.”

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