New York, April 8, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by news reports that the Iranian government has charged Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi with espionage.
Hassan Haddad, deputy public prosecutor, told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) that Saberi "without press credentials and under the name of being a reporter, was carrying out espionage activities." In its report, published today, ISNA quoted the prosecutor as saying that "she has been arrested under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Saberi has been notified of the charges, her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, told The Associated Press. Khorramshahi told Agence-France Presse that he has not seen detailed information about the charges. He said he would seek judicial permission to review the charges.
"News reports that the Iranian authorities have charged
Roxana Saberi with espionage are deeply worrying," said CPJ Middle East and
North Africa Program Coordinator
Saberi, 31, a dual citizen of the
An investigating judge told Iranian state television that Saberi could stand trial as early as next week, AP reported.
She is being held in
than 10,000 people worldwide signed a CPJ
petition expressing concern about Saberi's detention. CPJ presented the
petition to the Islamic Republic of Iran's Permanent Mission to the United
The journalist's parents, Reza and Akiko Saberi, have traveled to
The U.S. State Department has sought Saberi's release. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters today that the department is "deeply concerned by the news that we're hearing."