14 May 2009

Beauty Queen and Journalist Roxana Saberi Sets Free from Prison

The controversial former beauty queen and American journalist, Roxana Saberi has been freed from prison after four months in a Tehran prison and two weeks of hunger strike. She was accused of spying for a "hostile" nation (Iran's words), the United States of America.

The news comes after the decision of an Iranian appeals court to reduce her original eight-year sentence for spying. Her lawyer says she shed tears of relief at the news.

Friends and supporters of jailed U.S.-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi rejoiced over the decision by an Iranian appeals court to release her, and Saberi wept after hearing the news.

Eyewitnesses say that Saberi was released from a secret exit of Tehran's Evin prison, rather than the main gate, where journalists and supporters had gathered to see her.

Saberi's father Reza called his daughter's release "an unexpected surprise," telling reporters at her house in northern Tehran that she was "well."

Iran's Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi confirmed Saberi's sentence had been reduced by an appeals court, following Sunday's hearing. Saberi's initial eight-year conviction on charges of espionage were reduced to a two-year suspended sentence, according to her attorney Abdulsamad Khorramshahi. He told journalists the Saberi case was one of the most gratifying he had ever taken on.

Human rights organizations across the world, including Reporters Without Borders, had lobbied for Saberi's release, calling her initial conviction "politically motivated." The United States had repeatedly called the Iranian spying charges against Saberi "baseless" and had pleaded for her immediate release.

Saberi will reportedly be allowed to return home to the United States and under the terms of her suspended sentence will not be allowed to practice journalism in Iran for 5 years.

Here is a video showing Roxana Saberi. An she's really beautiful. Her father is an Iranian an her mother is a Japanese.