Jailed American journalist Roxana Saberi has been freed, following the
decision of an Iranian appeals court to reduce her original eight-year
sentence for spying. Her lawyer says she shed tears of relief at the
Friends and supporters of jailed U.S.-Iranian journalist
Roxana Saberi rejoiced over the decision by an Iranian appeals court to
release her, and Saberi wept after hearing the news.
say that Saberi was released from a secret exit of Tehran's Evin
prison, rather than the main gate, where journalists and supporters had
gathered to see her.Release was a surprise
Saberi's father Reza called his daughter's
release "an unexpected surprise," telling reporters at her house in
northern Tehran that she was "well."
Iran's Judiciary spokesman
Alireza Jamshidi confirmed Saberi's sentence had been reduced by an
appeals court, following Sunday's hearing.
eight-year conviction on charges of espionage were reduced to a
two-year suspended sentence, according to her attorney Abdulsamad
Khorramshahi. He told journalists the Saberi case was one of the most
gratifying he had ever taken on.Incorrect interpretation of penal code
Saberi's second attorney, Saleh
Nikbakht, told VOA the appellate judge ruled the Revolutionary Court,
which tried her initially, had incorrectly interpreted the penal code.
know, he says, the Revolutionary court sentenced her to an eight-year
jail sentence for spying, cooperation with the United States as hostile
government. We told them the USA is not hostile, although Iran and the
USA do have political, economic and ideological problems.
adds that Iran's Supreme Court ruled, several years ago, the United
States was not a "hostile nation," giving ammunition to his case.
says that according to Iran's constitution, the court is not able name
a country hostile. Only the Supreme Court is able to do that, and five
years ago, the Supreme Court of Iran emphasized that the United States
is not hostile. With these facts, he insists, the Appeals Court denied
the charge [against Saberi] of cooperation with a hostile government.
Rights organizations lobbied for release
organizations across the world, including Reporters Without Borders,
had lobbied for Saberi's release, calling her initial conviction
The United States had repeatedly called
the Iranian spying charges against Saberi "baseless" and had pleaded
for her immediate release.
Saberi will reportedly be allowed to
return home to the United States and under the terms of her suspended
sentence will not be allowed to practice journalism in Iran for 5