Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi’s father is absolutely worried sick. He hasn’t heard from her since February 10, and thinks she’s languishing in prison.
Saberi, a U.S. citizen who’s been living in Iran for six years and working as a freelance journalist for National Public Radio, BBC, FOX News, and other media outlets, while also finishing her master’s degree, hasn’t been heard from since February 10. And her Iran-born father, Reza Saberi, says his daughter bought a bottle of wine on the black market back in January and that the seller may have called authorities. Alcohol’s strictly verboten in the Islamic nation.
“She said that she had bought a bottle of wine and the person that sold it had reported it and then they came and arrested her,” he told NPR on Sunday. He thinks the wine purchase was just an excuse to arrest her.
Roxana told her father she would be released soon, but he hasn’t heard from her since. He now fears for her safety. The U.S. State Department is investigating. But a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said her press credentials had been revoked in 2006.
“This reporter should not have been illegally seeking news and information from Iran,” spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said. “Her accreditation was over in 2006, after Iranian authorities revoked her press card. Her activities since 2006 were completely illegal and unauthorized.”
Another recent high-profile arrest was that of Iranian-American student Esha Momeni, who was detained in an Iranian jail late last year while working on her thesis on the country’s women’s rights movements. Iran said her files posed a threat to Iran’s national security. Four women with dual citizenship were arrested on similar charges last year. Stay safe, Roxana. Come home soon.