Roxana Saberi's Release

by on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 Comments
Roxana Saberi is an Iranian-American journalist and a friend, who was recently released from Tehran’s Evin prison - much to the relief of family, friends, online petitioners and anyone who was aware of her situation in the world. Roxana was arrested in late January this year and was initially thought to have been arrested for purchasing a bottle of wine, a Foreign Ministry spokesman later said she was detained for working in the country with expired press credentials. After weeks of detention inside Tehran’s Evin Prison, she was convicted in the revolutionary court on April 14 of espionage for the United States. They couldn’t be any further from the truth.

For six years, Saberi has worked openly as a freelance journalist in Iran reporting for outlets such as NPR (National Public Radio), FSN ( Feature Story News), and the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). From 2001-2003 Saberi reported from Iran and was revoked of her press card in 2006, obstructing her from reporting from within the country as before. Roxana then decided to instead travel to other countries in the region, contributing stories that otherwise go uncovered.

I first made her acquaintance in 2007, at a film festival whereby her partner Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi was invited for the screening of his films in Paris. Roxana was anything but ordinary, from her heritage to her life as a freelance journalist for the last 8 years, I truly thought she possessed the very qualities that one can only hope to achieve very late on in this career. Our acquaintance came shortly after my enrolment in a journalism school and knowing her has somewhat reinforced the love I have for journalism, and encouraged me to pursue a less conventional route in the many things I do. Roxana Saberi was to me, an epitome of an accomplished female journalist and I am confident to see her past this ordeal as courageous and determined as I remembered her, as the political games continue and press freedom declines.

In 2009, 19 journalists have been killed and 142 remain imprisoned in the world.

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Alice Lin (林炳秀)

Alice is a Taiwanese-born journalism major who spent most of her childhood in Windhoek, Namibia. Having left home at a young age for boarding school, she has since then lived in Singapore, New Zealand and France. She worked briefly as a translator for a Paris-based NGO and recently returned from a work placement in Morocco, where she freelanced for local papers El Watan and Morocco Today. She is now studying in France.

Alice worked as the English editor of eRenlai from December 2008 to June 2009.

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