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Roxana Saberi Released!

May 11, 2009

Roxana Saberi

In case you haven’t already heard the great news: Journalist Roxana Saberi has been released and will be able to leave Iran.

Iranian authorities have reduced her sentence from eight years to a two-year suspended sentence, meaning if Saberi commits a crime in the next five years, the two-year sentence would take effect.

From the NYT:

Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group, said that he was ‘thrilled’ that Ms. Saberi has been released from prison and that he looked forward to welcoming her home.

‘But this is also a moment to reflect on the difficult conditions that Iranian journalists endure every day,’ Mr. Simon said. ‘Several Iranian journalists remain jailed today. We urge they be given the same opportunity for judicial review that was afforded to Roxana Saberi.’

I encourage everyone to sign up for alerts about feminist issues through the Feminist Majority Foundation. International pressure made a difference in Saberi’s case, and this is a great–and simple–way to stay aware of feminist issues around the world.

3 Comments
  1. May 13, 2009 10:09 am

    I do not think this was a feminist issue, if this was a male, such as some still in jail, it would have been the same punishment. Unlike many things that are unequal and lack justice in the Islamic world for women, this is not the case here. She broke the law, several in fact, and we would not let someone out of US jails for committing the actual crimes she did. She was arrested purchasing banned substances and had a classified Iranian government report (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/13/roxana-saberi-had-iranian_n_202886.html).

    • Emily permalink*
      May 13, 2009 12:42 pm

      That was what she was originally arrested for (purchasing alcohol), but she was accused of spying for the States. Still, an eight year sentence is way too harsh a punishment even if it were true. And—where’s the proof in the pudding? That article that you attached does not back up your statement.

      In regards to your “not a feminist issue” statement, I disagree. Because she was a woman reporter in a devout Muslim country, she could’ve been treated differently. But that’s not the point. Here at GAB, we believe that a “feminist issue” equals “womens issue.” Quite the contrary. Feminism is about progressing positive gender, race, sexuality, and class relations worldwide.

      I also suggest you read http://blog.iwhc.org/2009/05/pushing-back-moving-forward-the-struggle-for-gender-equality-in-iran-2/ .

    • Alison permalink
      May 13, 2009 6:04 pm

      I also think you’re ignoring the political ramifications between Iran and the United States that are going on here. You say that if this were in the U.S., we would not be releasing her from jail based on the crimes that she committed–but that ignores the reality of this situation. Roxana Saberi was not given access to a fair trial. After originally being arrested for purchasing alcohol, the charges were changed to espionage. She received her 8-year sentence after a one-day trial.

      So, yes, simply calling this merely a feminist issue would be inaccurate, because there are bigger issues at play here. This is a human rights issue regarding a female journalist, and I believe that makes it absolutely worthy of recognition on this blog. I also would like to clarify that I never meant to imply that if this were a male journalist, the situation would be different.

      I suggest reading these scholars’ opinions about why Saberi was released from prison: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/why-iran-freed-roxana-saberi/?scp=2&sq=roxana%20saberi%20U.S.%20iran%20relations&st=cse

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