Journalist’s release from prison long overdue

Freedom New Mexico

It is welcome news that Iranian-American journalist and former beauty queen Roxana Saberi has had her harsh eight-year sentence from the Iranian government quashed and that she is likely to be allowed to return to the United States soon.

Unfortunately, the new verdict doesn’t suggest that anything resembling dispassionate justice is on offer in the Iranian Islamic Republic; indeed, the decision emphasizes the capriciousness of the system.

Saberi, you may recall, is the South Dakota-born Iranian American who has lived in Iran for six years and had done reporting for the BBC, NPR, Fox News and other media outlets.

In January she was arrested (perhaps for buying a bottle of wine, perhaps not) and later charged and convicted of spying for the United States, which is most unlikely.

She received an eight-year sentence and launched a hunger strike.

Last week, the Iranian government announced an appeals court had reduced her sentence to a two-year suspended sentence and that she would be allowed to leave the country.

This about-face was almost certainly not because the Iranian regime had suddenly developed a hunger for truth and justice, but because an international uproar over the absurd proceedings led even this regime to be embarrassed.

She was not exonerated of the espionage charge. Her sentence was reduced. Allowing her to leave simplifies matters for the Iranian regime, giving foreign critics one less outrage to deplore.

Regardless of the circumstances or the motives, however, we can’t help but be happy for Saberi and her parents.