National Public Radio reports that freelance journalist Roxana Saberi was detained by authorities in Iran on January 31st and that her family in North Dakota last heard from her on February 10th. They went public with her plight over the weekend. The Iranian government revoked her official press credentials over a year ago, but Saberi had continued to file stories for NPR, Fox News, the BBC and other organizations.
The American journalist’s father, Reza Saberi, told NPR his daughter was arrested after buying a bottle of wine, which is forbidden in Iran, but that it was just an excuse to arrest her. Roxana Saberi had been living and working in Iran for six years, working as a freelance journalist while pursuing a masters degree. Before going overseas she had been Miss North Dakota and worked as a reporter for KVLY-TV Fargo. She holds both US and Iranian passports, since her father was born in Iran.
Agence France-Presse reported from Tehran that the judiciary arm of the Iranian government plans to comment today on the Saberi case in a news conference. AFP quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying that Saberi’s news reporting activities had been “illegal,” but he did not confirm or deny that she was being held.