US concerned over journalist’s jail sentence by Iran (Lead)

April 19th, 2009 - 12:35 am ICT by IANS  

Washington/Tehran, April 18 (DPA) The US expressed deep concern Saturday over an eight-year prison sentence imposed by the Iranian judiciary on Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi for spying.
“I am deeply disappointed,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “We will continue to vigorously raise our concerns to the Iranian government.”

Saberi, 31, a reporter for US National Public Radio, was sentenced on charges of spying for the US after the closed-door trial, her lawyer told reporters in Tehran.

She originally faced the less serious accusation of buying alcohol and of working without a valid press card. She has been in Tehran’s Evin prison since January.

The Iranian foreign ministry first said that her arrest was solely because of press activities without legal accreditation, but the judiciary later charged her with espionage.

Tehran’s deputy prosecutor Hassan Haddad said last week Saberi’s case was sent to a revolutionary court, and claimed that she had accepted all charges.

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