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Clinton Says Iran Sends 'Mixed' Signals On Jailed Journalist

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has voiced "great concerns" over the health of a jailed Iranian-American reporter, who she said was on hunger strike.

Clinton told the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 30 that Washington was pursuing "every channel" to secure Saberi.

But so far, Clinton said there were "mixed messages" coming from Iran over whether to free the jailed Iranian-American reporter.

“We hear mixed responses all the time from the government. They're going to let her out, they're going to let her out in two months, they're going to do an appeal," Clinton said.

"I think it shows you how difficult it is to deal with this government in Iran because they are impervious to the human rights and the civilized standards that one should apply.”

Saberi, who marked her 32nd birthday in jail on April 26, was arrested in January and sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying for the United States, allegations Washington says are baseless.

Hunger Strike

Tehran Deputy Prosecutor Hassan Haddad on April 28 denied that Saberi was on hunger strike, saying she is in good health in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

But the journalist's father, Reza Saberi, told Radio Farda on April 30 from Tehran that his daughter had lost a lot of weight as her hunger strike entered its second week.

"Roxana herself told us she’s on hunger strike and that she lost five kilograms in six days. She said she had nothing but water and sugar. Her hand was shaking and she was so thin and so weak that we had trouble in making her sit down," he said.

Meanwhile, four members of the Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders started on April 28 a hunger strike in front of the Iranian airlines offices in Paris in solidarity with Saberi.

One of them, Elsa Vidal, said, “What we expect from this strike is that she [Saberi] could be released as soon as possible, that the appeals court would be held as soon as possible, and that the international and Iranian authorities understand that the issue of Human Rights can’t be put aside from negotiations.”

Saberi's lawyer, Abdolsamad Khoramshah, has submitted the appeal bill. He is expected to be assisted by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and two more attorneys who have, however, not yet been allowed to visit her in jail to get the signature for the mandate.

Iranian Prosecutor-General Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi on April 29 said Saberi could apply for a possible amnesty only from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.