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Released Iranian-American reporter Saberi arrives in US

Latest update : 2009-05-25

Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi arrived in the United States on Friday after spending four months in an Iranian jail. Saberi was sentenced in April to eight years in prison for spying but released after her sentence was reduced on appeal.

AFP - Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi said Friday she was "happy to be back in the United States" after spending four months in an Iranian jail.
   
Saberi, who left Iran one week ago and first traveled with her mother, father, brother and a family friend to Vienna, Austria, arrived Friday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.
   
"I am so happy to be back in the United States," Saberi told a friend while flanked by two police officers.
   

"One thing that kept me alive was singing the national anthem to myself," she told dozens of reporters.
   
The 32-year-old US-born journalist walked free from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran on May 11 after a court reduced her prison term for spying to a two-year suspended sentence, ending a four-month ordeal.
   
"I wish I could personally thank all the people who supported me in my 100 days in prison," she told reporters, thanking US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
   
When she emerged from clearing customs there was a cheer from the crowd, many of whom were there to meet someone else but learned from photographers and reporters that the Iranian-American reporter who had spent months in prison in Tehran was returning home.
   
"I'd like to thank human rights organizations and my fellow journos and those who kept my story alive and pushed for my release," added Saberi, wearing a long plum-colored jacket.
   
She was initially detained in January and sentenced last month to an eight-year jail term on charges of spying in a case that caused deep concern in the United States and among human rights groups.
   
The sentence was the harshest ever meted out to a dual national on security charges in Iran and came just weeks after Obama proposed dialogue with Tehran after three decades of severed ties.
   
"I feel like I am still in a dream," Saberi's mother Akiko told AFP at the airport.
 

Date created : 2009-05-23

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