Saberi trial begins


American journalist Roxana Saberi has gone on trial in Iran on charges of spying for US intelligence agencies. A conviction could carry the death penalty.

Saberi, a former Miss North Dakota, had been a freelancer in Iran for NPR, Fox News, the BBC and other news organizations. She was arrested in January, accused first of buying alcohol, then of practicing journalism without a license and finally of spying. The US State Department has called the charges “baseless and without foundation.”

Numerous international news organizations have called for Saberi’s release. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also urged the Iranian government to free the American reporter.

Given the secretive nature of the Iranian judicial system, there has been no public information yet on what, if any, evidence was presented that Saberia was a spy. Iranian officials say a verdict in the case should come in two or three weeks.