Saturday, April 18, 2009

free roxana!

this morning, while checking my e-mail on yahoo i see an article titled "us journalist sentenced to 8 years in iran" or something similar. my first thought is 'oh no! please don't be roxana!' as i click and a new window opens to reveal a familiar face.
roxana saberi graduated from my alma mater, concordia college, a couple years ahead of me. it's not a huge school & i knew of her while we attended, but don't know her personally. over a month ago, i was led to a facebook group, release and return journalist roxana saberi from ir custody.
this seems to be the classic case of a country that trumps up whatever charges it wants to convict someone they deem a 'threat'. she had been living in iran the last 6 years as a freelance journalist, with dual citizenship (her father is iranian and her mother japanese & live in fargo, nd). as i understand it, roxana was initially charged with purchasing a bottle wine, illegal in muslim iran. then, they charged her with illegally practicing journalism after her press credentials were revoked in 2006. this morning reports of her trial, a one-day affair behind closed doors that her father was not allowed to attend, say that she has been convicted of espionage, spying & reporting back to the us government, and sentenced to 8 years in prison. she has already been held in evin prison outside tehran since january and is understandably deteriorating mentally and emotionally, if not physically. she has been talked out of a hungerstrike once. i cannot imagine being held in an iranian prison, let alone being a woman imprisoned in these circumstances.
this is truly a travesty of justice. her father says roxana told him that she had been coerced into confessing and recanted the charges. both senators from north dakota have expressed their concerns and hilary rodham clinton is involved as well and presented a petition to the iranian government. roxana's lawyer (thank goodness she has a lawyer!) has stated that he will appeal the conviction.
please, please, please if you are so moved, say a prayer for roxana or contact your own congressperson. i will be.

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At 4/19/09, 9:41 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said...

Yes, I keep hearing about her on the news. That stinks. I went to that meeting of Bahais where so many people had had family members imprisoned, tortured and jailed by the Iranian government.

At 4/19/09, 9:53 AM, Blogger mar said...

oh yeah, that was the one where you interviewed rainn wilson. one of the girls on the archaeological dig in israel i was on in 2000 was bahai & i remember her visiting the temple in tel aviv, i think.
iran is such an interesting country, but it's the government and its policies that are so frightening.

At 4/19/09, 10:40 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

The bahai temple is in haifa, and is gorgeous! But more important, I hope that the Obama administration will take the abysmal human rights record of Iran when setting the terms for talks. Free roxana!

At 4/19/09, 10:53 AM, Blogger mar said...

haifa! thank you, suzanne! i knew tel aviv sounded wrong, but i was too lazy to look it up.
yeah, talks are good, but it's the whole "china is economically strong, so let's ignore their human rights violations" situation all over again.
sounds like ahmadinejad requested a 'fair trial' for her according to news reports.


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