05/06/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Roxana Saberi interrupts hunger strike

Appeal against the journalist, held in the capital’s prison under charges of espionage set for May 12th. Her father had launched an alarm over her state of health. According to Tehran she had always eaten regularly.

Teheran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Roxana Saberi has interrupted her hunger strike. Reza Saberi, father of the 32 year-old journalist of dual Iranian-American citizenship, reported today.  Saberi has been charged with spying for the United States and is facing 8eight years in prison.

 Her father greeted the news with joy; earlier this week he had spoken of his fears for his daughter’s health conditions, saying she appeared “very weak”.  Iranian authorities consistently denied that Saberi was on hunger strike, according to Tehran the journalist was eating regularly.

 Roxana Saberi had begun her hunger strike on April 21st to protest the charges against here by an Iranian Court in a trial held behind closed doors.  Over two weeks, Roxana had eaten two dates and drunken minimal amounts of sweetened water.  The date for an appeal hearing has been set for May 12th; the verdict should be announced the same day or within a maximum of seven days.

 The journalist, whose dual nationality is not recognised by Tehran, was originally arrested in January for having bought a bottle of wine.  She was later accused of working in the Islamic republic without a permit.  Final charges laid against her were for spying.

 Human Rights activists have launched a campaign for her release; four journalists from Reporters without Borders have begun a hunger strike in solidarity with their colleague imprisoned in Evin jail, in the outskirts of the Iranian capital.

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