Iran to review jail sentence of U.S.-born reporter
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it would review the eight-year prison sentence handed down to Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi after she was convicted of spying for the United States.
Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said his government was following the case of Saberi, whose mother is Japanese, with "concern."
Saberi, who according to her father is on hunger strike, was jailed on April 18 to eight years after she was found guilty of espionage. Her lawyer has appealed the verdict.
"The has been a review request for her and this review will be implemented based on justice and human and Islamic kindness," Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said in a joint press conference with Nakasone.
Iranian judiciary officials have said Saberi is in good health and that she is not on hunger strike.
Her father Reza Saberi has described her condition as "frail and weak."
The case could complicate Washington's efforts toward reconciliation with the Islamic Republic after three decades of mutual mistrust.
Saberi, a freelance journalist and citizen of both the United States and Iran, was arrested in late January for working in the Islamic country after her press credentials had expired.
The United States says the espionage charges against Saberi, who has reported for the BBC and the U.S. National Public Radio, were baseless and has demanded her immediate release.
U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed concern for her safety.
Tehran, which does not recognize dual nationality, says Washington should respect the independence of Iran's judiciary.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on the prosecutor to ensure Saberi enjoys full legal rights to defend herself. The judiciary chief has said the appeal must be dealt with in a "quick and fair way."
(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb, Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Matthew Jones)
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