Monday, May 11, 2009
Good News From Iran For A Change: Roxana Saberi To Be Released
Roxana Saberi, the U.S. born journalist who has been reporting in Iran for the BBC and NPR among other outlets, is about to be released from custody.
Saberi, who was preparing to return home from assignment, was picked up, initially on a charge that she had purchased wine, which is illegal in Iran. Later, however, the charges were changed, to spying. She was sentenced to eight years in prison in a one-day closed door trial without benefit of counsel.
The case sparked world-wide indignation and, now, the Iranians have heard her appeal - again behind closed doors.
Her attorney reports that Saberi's sentence was reduced to two years and that she will soon be released.
Of course, the celebrating can't begin until she steps back on U.S. soil. But this is, for obvious reasons, good news. The Obama administration had been hoping that she would be released as a sign of good faith as the president attempts to re-establish dialogue with the regime in Tehran.
But as we herald the apparently impending release of Saberi, let's not lose sight of the fact that human rights violations are all-too-common in Iran. A country where openly gay people, for example, face execution.
Photo credit: Eustacio Humphrey / ZUMA Press