US journalist 'happy' to be free

Released from Iranian jail after four months, Roxana Saberi says she wants to relax.

     Saberi says she has no immediate plans for the
    future but is happy to be free [EPA]

    Saberi was initially detained in Iran in January reportedly for buying alcohol, but was later charged with espionage.

    She was sentenced last month to eight years in prison. But an Iranian court reduced her prison sentence on Monday to a two-year suspended sentence.

    The ruling came after a court in the capital, Tehran, heard Saberi's appeal behind closed doors.

    Confidential documents

    Saberi's lawyers said on Tuesday that she was originally convicted in part because she accessed confidential Iranian government documents, which she obtained while working as a freelance journalist.

    Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, one of her lawyers, told the Reuters news agency that Saberi had "accepted she had made a mistake and got access to documents she should not have. But there was no transfer of any classified information".

    Saberi's father, Reza, said his daughter initially pleaded guilty to the charges under pressure, but later retracted her statements.

    He said Saberi had not fully related her experiences in the prison but that she was not tortured.

    "She is telling us little by little about the jail experience. The prison atmosphere is pressurised and not good for  anyone."

    Saberi has reported for US National Public Radio, the BBC and Fox News, and has lived in Iran for the past six years.

    On Monday, Barack Obama, the US president, welcomed what he called a "humanitarian gesture" by Iran.

    The original sentence was handed down just weeks after Obama said that his administration would work towards better relations with Tehran after three decades with no official ties.

    Washington has repeatedly denied that Saberi was involved in spying for the US.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.