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Archive for Tuesday, May 12, 2009

U.S. journalist freed, reunited with parents

May 12, 2009

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— An American journalist imprisoned on espionage charges in Iran for four months was freed Monday and reunited with her smiling, tearful parents — a move that clears a major obstacle to President Barack Obama’s attempts at dialogue with the top U.S. adversary in the Middle East.

The United States had said the charges against Roxana Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, were baseless and repeatedly demanded her release.

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could also win some domestic political points a month before he faces a re-election challenge from reformers who seek to ease Iran’s bitter rivalry with the United States.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/05/11/journalists/index.html

"Saberi's release is good news, as her conviction occurred as part of extremely dubious charges and unreliable judicial procedures in Iran. And, as Ambinder suggested, her release most likely is a positive by-product of the commendable (though far from perfect) change in tone towards Iran specifically and the Muslim world generally from the Obama administration. But imprisoning journalists -- without charges or trials of any kind -- was and continues to be a staple of America's "war on terror," and that has provoked virtually no objections from America's journalists who, notably, instead seized on Saberi's plight in Iran to demonstrate their claimed commitment to defending persecuted journalists.

Beginning in 2001, the U.S. held Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj for six years in Guantanamo with no trial of any kind, and spent most of that time interrogating him not about Terrorism, but about Al Jazeera. For virtually the entire time, the due-process-less, six-year-long imprisonment of this journalist by the U.S. produced almost no coverage -- let alone any outcry -- from America's establishment media, other than some columns by Nicholas Kristof (though, for years, al-Haj's imprisonment was a major media story in the Muslim world). As Kristof noted when al-Haj was finally released in 2007: "there was never any real evidence that Sami was anything but a journalist"; "the interrogators quickly gave up on asking him substantive questions" and "instead, they asked him to spy on Al-Jazeera if he was released;" and "American officials, by imprisoning an Al-Jazeera journalist without charges or meaningful evidence, have done far more to damage American interests in the Muslim world than anything Sami could ever have done.""

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