US journalist Roxana Saberi freed from Tehran jail

roxana-saberi-freed

Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was freed from prison in Tehran after a court reduced her eight-year jail sentence for spying to a suspended two-year term.

The 32-year-old freelance reporter was released on Monday afternoon, according to her lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “heartened” by Saberi‚Äôs release, though it still objected to her espionage conviction.

We “wish her and her family all of the very best we can send their way,” Clinton said at a televised State Department briefing.

Saberi, who has reported for a number of foreign news organizations including NPR, the BBC and Fox News, has been working in Iran as a freelance journalist for six years and was detained in late January.

Initially arrested for buying alcohol, which is a crime in the country, Saberi was later cited for working as a journalist without a valid press card. Then, in a period of less than two weeks, Iranian officials announced the far more serious charges of espionage.

Last month, Saberi received eight years of sentence, but her lawyer made an appeal against the verdict.

Saberi launched a hunger strike on April 21 in protest at the sentence but she ended it after about two weeks when she was briefly hospitalized.

On Monday, a Tehran appeals court reduced her jail term for espionage to a two-year suspended sentence, ending a four-month ordeal for the journalist.