Roxana Saberi on Hunger Strike

Reporters without Borders reports that Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi — sentenced last Saturday to 8 years in prison after a sham 1 day closed trial in Tehran — is protesting her detention with a hunger strike. (For more background on Saberi, and her dubious arrest by Iranian authorities, read this profile by her former employer, the BBC.)

Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not typically the most civil liberties friendly, had directly appealed to the Iran’s independent judiciary to process the case of Saberi with openness and transparency. Perhaps he is feeling the pressure of a potential American rapprochement. The visibility of the Saberi case could easily flare up into a full grown diplomatic feud. So far, Secretary Clinton’s language has been measured, though concerned.

Might the internet play a constructive role here in changing the diplomatic end game by raising the heat on Iranian authorities? Imagine, it was years before Solzhenitsin could get The Gulag Archipelago published in the West, much less in the Soviet Union. Now, despite all the Iranians’ best efforts at a low key and hack job political trial, anyone with Google can learn the inner workings of Saberi’s detention and moreover Iran’s infamous Evin political prison where she’s being held.

While — as AbuAardvark and NetEffect’s Evgeny Morozov have been right to point out — the internet is not radically democraticizing the world, it does raise the embarassment and diplomatic costs of political prisoners. Hard to complain you’ve been shut out of the community of nations when your injustice is plainly on display. And the web is what solves this informational assymetry, even if it can’t shake kings and autocrats.

Saberi’s partner, Kurdish-Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi, has written an open letter appealing to Iranian authorities. The letter can be read in full here and is circulating on numerous media outlets and websites (BBC, Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to name a few).

Tweet it, RT it, blog, and howl. Roxana should be free.

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5 Responses to “Roxana Saberi on Hunger Strike”

  1. Tor Hershman Says:

    Yes indeed, all political prisoners should be freed and justly compensated.

  2. Hamid Tehrani Says:

    I think you should write more carefully : Saberi’s partner Ghobadi…

    Ghobadi claims he is her partener and there is no confirmation from relatives and family.

  3. software development India Says:

    Excellent source of information. Keep up the good work!

  4. Al Says:

    Free Roxana!!!

  5. Internet & Democracy Blog » Saberi Ends Hunger Strike for Health Reasons Says:

    […] was sentenced to 8 years for espionage, has ended her hunger strike for health reasons. As we wrote here earlier, Saberi began her hunger strike on April 21 after being sentenced in a brief, secret trial. Saberi […]