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Father: Iranians 'Tricked' Journalist

Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison for espionage on Saturday. The 31-year-old journalist, who has reported for NPR, the BBC and other news organizations, has been jailed at Evin Prison in Iran since Jan. 31.

Saberi's father, Reza Saberi, who was in Iran but not allowed into the courtroom, tells host Scott Simon that his daughter was coerced into making incriminating statements.

"They told her if she made the statements they would free her," he says. "It was a trick."

Simon notes that because Reza Saberi is speaking from Iran, authorities may be listening to the conversation.

Reza Saberi says his daughter was not allowed a real defense and that her lawyer was not allowed to ask the court about bail. The family plans to appeal.

He says Roxana wants to go on a hunger strike "to draw the attention of the Iranian authorities who have sentenced her without justifiable cause." He notes, however, that she is weak and "if she does [go on a hunger strike], it can be very dangerous to her health."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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