Iranian President Asks Court to Reconsider Spy Case
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a rare effort to intervene in the justice system, urged Tehran’s chief prosecutor on Sunday to fairly examine the cases of an Iranian-American journalist and an Iranian-Canadian blogger.
The Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi, has been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying for Washington, her lawyer reported Saturday. The other detainee is Hossein Derakhshan, a blogger who has been jailed since November without any official charges.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, who will be attending an international conference on racism on Monday and is expected to seek re-election in June, may be seeking to cast himself as a defender of human rights, analysts said. He may also be trying to prevent radical forces from sabotaging a possible reconciliation between Iran and the United States. >>>
US President Barack Obama rejects a ruling against a US-Iranian journalist, expressing confidence that she was not involved in spying.
“Obviously I’m gravely concerned with her safety and well being,” Obama told a news conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on Sunday and urged Tehran to release the 31-year old Roxana Saberi.
On Saturday, Saberi, who holds a dual citizenship of both the United States and Iran, was sentenced by an Iranian court to eight years in prison on espionage charges.
“We are working to make sure that she is properly treated and to get information about the disposition of her case. She is an American citizen and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage,” Obama said.
He added, “She is an Iranian-American who was interested in the country which her family came from and it is appropriate for her to be released.”
The US president said that Washington would be in touch with Tehran about the case through the Swiss embassy.
Saberi, who reported for the BBC, NPR, and Fox News during her six-year stay in Iran, was arrested in January for working ‘illegally’ as a journalist after her press card was revoked in 2006.
She is now in Iran’s Evin prison. >>>