Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roxana Saberi: Prisoner of Conscience in Iran

Roxana Saberi, an American journalist was arrested in Iran four years ago and accused of espionage. She was sentenced  to eight years in an Iranian prison.  That sentence was eventually reduced to 2 years and then after a hunger strike and a judicial review, she was released after 101 days.

In prison, she developed a relationship  with two Bahá’í leaders, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabad,  who were serving 20 year sentences. The Bahá’í religion is not recognized in Iran and the government often arrests its leaders.

In the touching clip below, Saberi explains how she survived and how her her friendship with Mahvash and Fariba helped her survive and strengthened her faith. You can read more about Saberi in this article from the radio program, On Being, and in this 2009 story from Time Magazine.  And here a number of New York Times stories about her trial and imprisonment.

Saberi is an interesting woman. She was born in  North Dakota.  Her mother is Japanese and her father is Iranian. She grew up in North Dakota and won the Miss Dakota beauty pageant in 1997.  She moved to Iran in 2003 and periodically contributed stories to NPR and PBS.

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