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Roxana Saberi’s lawyer optimistic after retrial

10 May, 2009

The New York Times reports an Associated Press story (here) that he was allowed to conduct a thorough defense of Roxana Saberi and that she was also allowed to speak on her own behalf. The retrial lasted over 5 hours; last month’s trial, during which Saberi was charged with espionage, lasted about 45 minutes.

Iran’s intelligence minister has said that the initial investigation was done by an expert on security and counterespionage at the Intelligence Ministry before her case was referred to court.

Saberi who has been in Iran for six years writing a book about Iran’s culture and its people had hoped to return home to North Dakota sometime this year.  She insists she was not a spy for anyone.

If her lawyer is correct in his optimism, Saberi might still be able to return this year; but there is no assurance that Iran will relent despite the retrial.

Iran’s judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said he believed ”the ruling by the appeals court will be fair and based on the law,” the country’s official news agency reported Sunday. But he also stressed that he could not ”predict if she will be acquitted or the current verdict will remain in force.”

The trial may simply be a way to demonstrate to the Obama administration that Iran is willing to make concessions without actually having to make them.  We shall have to wait and see.  Meanwhile, we hope for Saberi’s safety, freedom, and return to the U.S..

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