New York, March 3, 2009--A spokesman for
in late January, Saberi has not had access to an attorney, and has been
incommunicado for over a month. Reuters quoted Alireza Jamshidi as saying that
Saberi is being held based on a writ "issued by the revolutionary court." He
added that he did not "know anything about the charges against her."
A journalist held in the notorious Evin prison in 2003 died
while in custody. Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra
Kazemi died after being detained in connection with pictures she had taken
during a student protest in
"We are appalled that the Iranian government is holding Roxana Saberi without charge," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "We are troubled that the writ for her arrest was issued by a revolutionary court, and we fear that she will be tried by one. They lack even the most elementary guarantees of due process. We call for the Iranian government to explain why Saberi is being held and to give her access to a lawyer or release her immediately."
Revolutionary courts, in existence since 1979, are intended to try national security, espionage, terrorism, and drug-trafficking cases. Proceedings are usually closed, and defendants are frequently made to appear in court without legal counsel.