The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for the trial of an Iranian-American journalist accused of spying to be ‘open, honest and respectful’ of all her rights under international law.
The trial of Roxana Saberi began yesterday behind closed doors in Tehran and a verdict is expected within three weeks, says an Iranian official.
“To accuse a journalist of spying is easily done,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, “but it must be a fair trail with evidence given in an honest and respectful manner in open court and in line with international standards of jurisprudence.”
Ms Saberi faced her accusers before Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which handles national security cases. The IFJ is dismayed that the trial is taking place behind closed doors – “which inevitably undermines the credibility of the process,” said White.
A US-Iranian national, Ms Saberi has spent six years in Iran studying and writing a book. The journalist, aged 31, worked briefly for the BBC three years ago. She has also worked for the American public radio network National Public Radio and the television network Fox News.
She was arrested in late January and has been held in Evin prison near Tehran. At first she was accused of working without press credentials, but last week an Iranian judge charged her with spying for the United States.