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Roxana Saberi Freed

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 11, 2009 2:40PM

American journalist - and Medill graduate - Roxana Saberi has been freed from an Iranian prison after an appeals court overturned her eight-year sentence for allegedly spying on Iran for the U.S. Saberi, a 32-year-old American-Iranian national, graduated from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in 1999 and has been in Iran for six years, covering stories for outlets such as NPR and the BBC. Saberi's father, Reza, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota where Roxana grew up, is in Iran to bring her back home, telling the Associated Press, "In the next few days, we will make travel plans to return home."

According to the AP (via the Sun-Times):

The former 1997 Miss North Dakota was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But an Iranian judge later leveled the far more serious charge of espionage.

Iran has not released many details about her case. Iran's intelligence minister has said that the initial investigation was done by an expert on security and counterespionage at the Intelligence Ministry before her case was referred to court.

Her Iranian-born father has said his daughter had been working on a book about the culture and people of Iran, and hoped to finish it and return to the United States this year.

Saberi supporters, including Northwestern where supporters had been participating in a hunger strike, were celebrating the news. Alexis Grant, member of the Free Roxana campaign, said, “I was ecstatic. This was the best news you can hope for.”