Iran says the case of American journalist Roxana Saberi, imprisoned in Tehran for
spying, will get a fair review on appeal while international calls for her release are
growing on World Press Freedom Day.
Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told his visiting Japanese counterpart
Saturday that Saberi's appeal will be "reviewed justly
Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone
raised the issue in Tehran because Saberi's mother is Japanese. Her
father is Iranian.
Journalist Saberi was convicted by an Iranian
court on charges of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison. She
has been on a hunger strike since April 21.
Reza and his wife Akiko are also in Tehran to try to win their
daughter's release. Reza Saberi says he is grateful for all the
support being shown worldwide for his daughter.
are very thankful for their support. I talked to my daughter,
yesterday, and she said that while she did not want other people to go
on hunger strike because of her, she appreciates their support very
much," Saberi said.
He said he is touched by
all the sympathy being expressed, globally, for his daughter, adding
that he thinks her ordeal will end soon.
think they are doing a lot and we are very grateful for their support.
We are optimistic that this problem will be solved in [the] near
future," said Saberi.
Lucie Morillon of Reporters
Without Borders in Washington says members of the group are taking up
Saberi's cause by going on a hunger strike.
are very concerned about her health and we want her to know that other
people have taken up her hunger strike and that she does not have to
continue it. She is weak and we are here to let her know she can
stop. Other people can do it for her, abroad," said Morillon.
She says journalists around the world should let Iran know they are
committing an injustice and accomplishing nothing by detaining an
"Today is World
Press Freedom Day. It is a day where we celebrate the right to be
informed, where we pay tribute to those courageous reporters who are
taking risks to get information. The Iranian authorities are having
here the perfect opportunity to do a gesture of goodwill and let her
go," Morillon said. "She has done nothing wrong. They know it very well . These are
trumped-up charges being held against her. They should let her go. It
is not going to bring them anything to have someone like Roxana
spending time in jail."
Journalists gathered Sunday in front of U.N. headquarters in New York
City to begin their hunger strike and conducted a vigil in support of
Saberi and two U.S. journalists being held by North Korea for allegedly
International human-rights groups are also criticizing
Iran for the execution Friday of a young woman who was convicted of
murder when she was a minor. Her lawyer said authorities did not
follow Iranian law in executing Delara Darabi.
International says it is outraged by the hanging. It says Iran
executes more juvenile offenders than any other nation - eight last
year and 42 since 1990. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the
Child, which Iran has signed, bans capital punishment for offenders who
committed crimes before their 18th birthday.