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US journalist Saberi appeals Iran espionage conviction

[JURIST] The lawyer for imprisoned US journalist Roxana Saberi [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday appealed her recent conviction for espionage [JURIST report]. A spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary reportedly said that he hoped her eight-year sentence would be changed [Reuters report]. On Monday, Iran's top judge Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrud urged a fair appellate process [JURIST report]. On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to prosecutor general Saeed Mortazavi, which contained implicit criticism [Financial Times report] of the judiciary's handling of the Saberi trial. In response to Ahmadinejad's letter, Iranian Information Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejeie stated that Saberi's trial was held in accordance with Iranain law [IRNA report].

Saberi was originally arrested [NYT report] in March after buying a bottle of wine, as alcohol consumption is illegal under Iranian law. It was believed that the charges against Saberi would be working without Iranian press credentials, but the Iranian government charged her with espionage [JURIST report], accusing her of passing classified information to US intelligence services. Saberi was tried last week behind closed doors.

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