May 11, 2009
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR



   

JAILED IRANIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST ROXANA SABERI
TO BE RELEASED TODAY, ALLOWED TO LEAVE COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY

HER FATHER, REZA SABERI, TELLS NPR NEWS “THEY HAVE REDUCED HER SENTENCE. …SHE WILL BE FREE TODAY”

STATEMENT FROM NPR PRESIDENT & CEO VIVIAN SCHILLER

May 11, 2009; Washington, D.C. – Jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi has had her sentenced reduced and will be released from Evin Prison in Iran, where she has been held on charges of espionage, her father Reza Saberi told NPR News this morning. “She will be free as of today,” said Mr. Saberi.

Mr. Saberi told NPR he was on his way to pick up his daughter from Iranian authorities. NPR News is reporting that a lawyer for Saberi confirmed on Sunday that a deal to free her was imminent after a five-hour closed-door appeals hearing. He said she will be allowed to leave the country immediately.

The complete report is available online, and will be updated throughout the day: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103999681 All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen chyron with NPR logo.

On hearing the news of Saberi’s impending release, NPR President & CEO Vivian Schiller said: “We are overjoyed at the news that Roxana Saberi is to be released, and are grateful to everyone who has shared in our efforts to gain her freedom. Roxana is an established and respected professional journalist and we look forward to her return to her craft.”

In mid-April, Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Saberi to 8 years in prison for espionage. The 32-year old journalist has reported from Iran for NPR, the BBC, ABC, FOX and other news organizations. She had been jailed at Evin Prison since January 31st.