Roxana Saberi on hunger strike: Report

April 27, 2009

According to Roxana Saberi’s father, she has gone on a hunger strike in prison to protest the eight-year sentence handed to her.

Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi sentenced to eight years of prison for espionage in Tehran has reportedly gone on a hunger strike.
Saberi’s father, who is in Tehran to pursue her daughter’s case, said on Saturday that Roxana had called from prison to say she was on her fifth day of hunger strike and would continue to refuse food until she is released.
“She’s not eating anything ... I’m very worried,” he told Reuters.
Judging by her voice, “she seems to be weak,” Reza Saberi said.
According to Saberi’s father, her lawyer Abdolsamad Khoramshahi lodged an appeal against Roxana’s eight-year prison term on Saturday.
Saberi’s decision to go on a hunger strike comes as earlier last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked Iran’s judiciary to ensure that justice is administered in the case of the detained journalist.
Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi later ordered a “careful, quick and fair” appeal for Roxana’s controversial eight-year sentence.
“Fair examination of the case at every stage and especially at the appeal stage is the defendant’s right,” Shahroudi said in a letter to the head of the Tehran court.
U.S.-born Saberi, who is also half Japanese, was arrested late January in Tehran and was charged with spying for Washington following a trial by an Iranian court on April 18.
Saberi, who reported for U.S. National Public Radio, the BBC and Fox News, has lived in Iran since 2003.
Her controversial sentencing has prompted American circles to make every attempt to help her release.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reportedly sent a delegation to Iran to seek the release of Saberi.
According to a report by Canada’s PR newswire, CAIR Board Chairman State Senator Larry Shaw (NC) and CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad had sent a letter to President Ahmadinejad earlier, demanding permission to “travel to Iran to discuss with you and other officials the case of Roxana Saberi and how it may be resolved in a way that helps improve relations and benefits the cause of international peace and stability.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed concern over the sentencing of Saberi, saying, “She is an American citizen, and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage.”
(Source: Press TV)