VOLUME 28 NO. 12 | MARCH 14 - MARCH 20, 2009

Imprisoned journalist’s father says she met lawyer

Last updated 3-12-09 at 2:17 p.m.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The father of imprisoned journalist Roxana Saberi says his lawyer met with her in Iran and saw no sign she had been physically tortured but she appeared very depressed and unhappy.

“She began to cry at first,” Reza Saberi said on March 8, summarizing what he learned from his contacts in Iran. While there were no visible signs that his daughter was tortured, he said, “Certainly, they have interrogated her under pressure.”

She seemed to cheer up when the lawyer told her that efforts are underway to win her release, her father said.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Reza Saberi said of the lawyer’s visit. “I think right now, until this morning, we didn’t know if she was even alive.”

A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary has said 31-year-old Roxana Saberi was being held in Evin prison north of the capital, Tehran. The Foreign Ministry said she had engaged in “illegal” activities because she continued working in Iran after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for her release.

Her father told The Associated Press that Roxana will apparently be able to have visitors in prison but there is no word on when she will be released. She asked the lawyer for books from her apartment, he said.

Reza Saberi said he continues to seek details on why his daughter was arrested and said the lawyer will start working on her defense.

“Our communication with the lawyer was cut off four times,” he said.

“We will continue our pressure,” he said. “If we just keep silent, they will put it on the back burner and forget about it.”

Roxana Saberi, who grew up in Fargo, has lived in Iran for six years working as a freelance journalist. Her father is from Iran and her mother is from Japan. (end)


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