Japan urges Iran to show more transparency in Saberi case

May 3rd, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, May 3 (DPA) Japan called on Iran to have more transparency in the case of jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, whose mother is Japanese, informed sources in Tehran said Sunday.
Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting Saturday that although Tokyo respected the judiciary’s independence but still expected more transparency in the Saberi case.

Due to the Japanese nationality of Saberi’s mother, the issue of the jailed journalist was raised during the talks.

The 32-year-old, who worked for US National Public Radio, was sentenced to eight years in prison last month on charges of spying for the US government. Her attorneys have filed an appeal.

Ahmadinejad told Nakasone in return that he considered “any outside interference as not favourable”.

Ahmadinejad last month called on Tehran’s general prosecutor office to personally follow the Saberi case with precision and fairness, in line with all legal norms. He also stressed Saberi’s right for legal defence assistance.

The same demand was also made by Judiciary head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, who ordered the director general of the Tehran court to give Saberi all legal rights in the appeal court.

The rather unusual calls by the two top officials indicated that the initial verdict against Saberi was harsh and should be revised in the appeal court.

Nakasone had raised the same concern in his meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and conveyed Tokyo’s views to the Iranian side.

No further details were however disclosed.

Mottaki also referred to the Saberi case and said that she would have a fair appeal court.

“But like every other Iranian violating the local regulations, Saberi is also charged and her case followed up by the judiciary,” Mottaki said.

Saberi’s father said last month that her daughter was on hunger strike but the judiciary categorically denied the claim and accused the foreign media of misusing the case for propaganda purposes.

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