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Iran minister vows judiciary will fairly review conviction of US journalist

[JURIST] Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki [official website] announced [press briefing] Saturday that Iran's judiciary will fairly review the espionage conviction of US journalist Roxana Saberi [advocacy website; JURIST news archive], adding that "[r]ules and regulations in Iran equally apply to all individuals who violate the law." Mottaki's statement came in response to close public scrutiny of the development of Saberi's case in Iran. After having been convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison last month, Saberi appealed [JURIST reports].

Iran's treatment of Saberi, who has reportedly been on a hunger strike [BBC report] in protest of her detainment since the 20th of last month, has provoked a great deal of international criticism. Last month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official website] emphasized her disappointment [press release] in Iran's judiciary for their treatment of the case. Also last month, Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged [press release] the necessity of Saberi's release based on the assertion of her position as a "prisoner of conscience," serving as "a pawn to the ongoing political developments between Iran and the USA." Saberi was originally arrested [NYT report] in March after buying a bottle of wine, as alcohol consumption is illegal under Iranian law. Although it was initially believed Saberi would be charged with working without Iranian press credentials, the Iranian government charged her with espionage [JURIST report], accusing her of passing classified information to US intelligence services.

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