Saberi Ends Hunger Strike for Health Reasons

According to her father, Roxana Saberi, the jailed Iranian-American journalist who 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 had worked for a number of foreign news organizations including NPR, which has done a commendable job of keeping a high profile around her case and appealing for her release.

Saberi’s case follows a string of similar arrests of bloggers, increased filtering, creation of a Basiji blogger corps, attacks by Islamic hackers on popular Web sites, and the death of blogger Omid Misayafi in prison. The increased pressure on bloggers and others was likely due to the start of the Presidential campaign; elections will take place in June. The Obama administration has called for a review of Saberi’s case, as has President Ahmadinijad, although the Iranian president has no official influence over the judiciary, which in controlled by even more conservative elements in Iran. Experts have speculated that Saberi’s arrest and swift conviction may have taken place to give the Iranians a chip in diplomatic maneuvering with the US, which has indicated a willingness for renewed engagement and a step back from years of hostility between the two countries.

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