Saberi remains on hunger strike in Iranian prison

Iranian-American freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, left, who was sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian Revolutionary Court on charges of spying for the United States, remains on a hunger strike that she started a week ago. Her father, Reza Saberi, told Agence France-Presse after visiting her in Tehran’s Evin Prison on her 32 birthday that his daughter was determined to continue her hunger strike as long as she remained in prison.

“She is only having water and sugared water,” the father told the news agency. “We tried to convince her to give up her hunger strike but she is persistent [in] telling us ‘I will be either freed or I will die here’,” he added.

Saberi was given the harsh sentence on April 13 after a closed one-day trial in which she was made to appear before the court without legal counsel.

On Saturday, Saberi’s lawyer lodged an appeal. In spite of public letters from Iran’s president and the head of the judiciary to the relevant authorities asking that Saberi be afforded her full rights in a fair and speedy appeals process, authorities have prevented lawyers working for Nobel Peace Prize-winning attorney Shirin Ebadi from gaining access to Saberi so that she may sign power of attorney papers that would enable that legal team to begin mounting a defense on her behalf.