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Iran Intelligence: Saberi indeed a spy

Press TV

Roxana Saberi after freedom

Iranian Intelligence Ministry says that despite being released, Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was proven to be involved in acts of espionage.

Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i told reporters on Wednesday that the court had found Saberi guilty of espionage.

When asked about the reasons behind Saberi's release despite the confirmation of espionage, Eje'i explained that Saberi was in fact convicted and handed a jail sentence but the sentence had been suspended for five years at the discretion of the judge.

Saberi, a freelance journalist, was detained in late January as she continued working in Iran despite the earlier expiration of her press credentials. She was sentenced to an eight-year imprisonment on charges of spying for the government of the United States.

Her jail sentence was then reduced to a two-year suspended sentence after a court of appeals reviewed her case and she was released from Iran's Evin house of detention.

One of her lawyers, Saleh Nikbakht, explained to BBC Persian on Wednesday that his client's conviction was a result of accidental espionage.

Nikbakht said Saberi had been convicted because she had copied and kept a "confidential Iranian government document" about the US invasion of Iraq and because she had visited Israel, travel which is banned by the Iranian government.

Saberi had confirmed in her May 10 appeal that she obtained the document and copied it out of "curiosity" while she was working as a freelance translator for the influential Expediency Council, according to Nikbakht.

She also acknowledged visiting Israel in the hearing but said that she had carried out no activities against Iran there.

The suspended sentence for Saberi will be automatically lifted if she undertakes no unlawful activities in the next five years.

... Payvand News - 05/14/09 ... --

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