The Progressive


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For Immediate Release
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Amnesty International Condemns Harsh Sentence for Iranian-American Journalist Roxana Saberi

Human Rights Organization Has Issued Urgent Actions Mobilizing Activists Worldwide to Call for Her Release


Amnesty International condemned
the eight-year prison sentence imposed by an Iranian Revolutionary Court
on Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi who was convicted of "espionage"
following a brief closed door trial in Tehran.

"The charges of espionage against Roxana
Saberi lack credibility as the Iranian authorities have not revealed any
evidence they might have against her,"
said Elise Auerbach, Amnesty International USA's Iran country specialist.

Saberi had been arrested on January 31 and
held in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since then. Legal proceedings in
Iran's Revolutionary Courts are severely flawed and fail to meet international
standards for fair trials. The evidence against Saberi has not been made

"Saberi has also, regrettably, become
a pawn in the political maneuvering that is unfolding as Iran's relations
with the United States and its role in the world community are being reassessed.
If the Iranian authorities cannot provide convincing proof that Saberi
was actually engaged in espionage, her conviction should be reversed and
she should be immediately released from detention," said Auerbach.

Saberi's conviction and sentence further
heighten the repression caused by the increasingly severe crackdown on
those exercising their rights to peaceful freedom of expression and association
in Iran. This comes shortly after the announcement of a six-year prison
sentence imposed on women's rights activist Ronak Safarzadeh. The government
of Iran has recently imprisoned and persecuted numerous bloggers, journalists,
labor activists, students and members of religious minorities.

Amnesty International issued an urgent action
on March 16 when Saberi was first detained, mobilizing activists worldwide
to send letters to Iranian officials calling on the authorities to release
her unless she is to be charged with a recognizable criminal offense. The
organization recently issued a second urgent action on Friday, April 17,
after news that she had been tried in a closed courtroom.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

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