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Thursday, February 22

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The Mechanics
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Event Tue Mar 30 2010

Freed Journalist To Speak in Chicago about Iran

Roxana Saberi, a U.S.-Iranian journalist held captive in Tehran's infamous Evin prison for four months, will speak about her ordeal April 12 in Chicago as part of a McCormick Freedom Project author series.

Saberi, 32, recently released a book about her experience in Iran entitled Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran.

Saberi, who received a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University, was working as a freelance journalist for NPR and BBC among other media outlets when she was arrested in late January 2009. Early reports indicated she was arrested for buying alcohol, but Saberi has now explained that she was forced to say that in a phone call to her father.

"Until this day, I'm still not sure what they arrested me for," Saberi recently told NPR. "It wasn't for buying alcohol; it wasn't for reporting without a press pass. My interrogators claimed that I was spying for the U.S., and however much I told them that I was not -- that I was simply writing a book and doing interviews for a book, which I hoped to use to show English speakers around the world a more balanced and complete picture of Iranian society -- however much I told them this, they told me I was lying and that I was a U.S. spy. So my first -- the first charge that was against me was taking steps against national security, which can mean various things in Iran."

Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court, but the court later dismissed the charges last May. In between that time, Saberi's case drew national media attention, she went on a hunger strike and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly asked Iranian officials to free Saberi.

Saberi will speak at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., at 6 p.m. The event is free but organizers ask that you register here.

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