IFJ calls for Openness in Trial of Journalist Accused of Spying in Iran

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) has called for the trial of an Iranian-American

journalist accused of spying to be ‘open, honest and respectful' of all her

rights under international law.

The trial of Roxana Saberi began

yesterday behind closed doors in Tehran

and a verdict is expected within three weeks, says an Iranian

official.

"To accuse a journalist of spying is

easily done," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, "but it must be a fair

trail with evidence given in an honest and respectful manner in open court and

in line with international standards of jurisprudence."

Ms Saberi faced her accusers before Iran's Revolutionary Court,

which handles national security cases. The IFJ is dismayed that the trial is

taking place behind closed doors - "which inevitably undermines the credibility

of the process," said White.

A US-Iranian

national, Ms Saberi has spent six years in Iran

studying and writing a book. The journalist, aged 31, worked briefly for the

BBC three years ago. She has also worked for the American public radio network

National Public Radio and the television network Fox News.

She was arrested in late January and

has been held in Evin prison near Tehran.

At first she was accused of working without press credentials, but last week an

Iranian judge charged her with

spying for the United States.

For

further information contact IFJ on +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide