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« Checking in: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Good To Know »

Social Issues Wed Mar 04 2009

U.S. journalist with Chicago connection held in Iran

A U.S. journalist with ties to the Chicago-area is being held in Tehran's Evin prison under unspecified charges.

Roxana Saberi, 31, a freelance journalist, has reported from Iran for BBC, NPR and ABC News, among other news outlets, for six years. According to reports, she called her father on February 10 and told him she had been arrested for buying alcohol, but her family has not heard from her since then. A spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Saberi filed stories illegally from Iran after her press credentials were withdrawn.

Saberi received a master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in 1999. In addition to posting a story about Saberi, the Medill community has sent an e-mail expressing their concern to alumni, and the Committee to Protect Journalists has created a petition on Facebook. The petition will be sent to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad c/o the Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations. Advocates at the CPJ worry that "the writ for her arrest was issued by a revolutionary court, and we fear that she will be tried by one. They lack even the most elementary guarantees of due process. We call for the Iranian government to explain why Saberi is being held and to give her access to a lawyer or release her immediately."

The petition states:

Dear Mr. President,

We, the friends and colleagues of freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, join with the Committee to Protect Journalists in expressing our deep concern about her arrest and detention. Saberi, a U.S. citizen who has lived in Iran for six years, has been held without charge since the end of January. She has not been heard from since February 10.

We urge you to immediately investigate the details of her case and call on you to use all measures afforded you as president to ensure that Saberi has access to an attorney and receives due process. We ask that the charges against her are made public. If no charges are filed, we urge you to ensure that she is released immediately.


Sincerely,
The Undersigned

 
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Good Luck / March 5, 2009 9:29 AM

I hope she is released safely and soundly.

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