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Iran Judiciary Wants Quick Handling Of Reporter's Case

Roxana Saberi

Roxana Saberi

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- The head of Iran's judiciary has ordered a careful, quick, and fair consideration of an appeal against the eight-year jail sentence imposed on an Iranian-American journalist, the judiciary said on April 20.

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi had issued a decree to the head of Tehran's court system, two days after freelance reporter Roxana Saberi was jailed on charges of spying for the United States, a judiciary statement said.

Shahroudi "emphasized the necessity of access to fair consideration of Roxana Saberi's case, especially at the appeals stage, which is the certain right of the accused," the statement said.

"Different dimensions of this case, including material and moral elements of the crime, must be considered at the appeals stage in a careful, quick and fair way," it said.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on April 19 that he was deeply concerned for Saberi's safety and urged Tehran to free her, saying he was confident she was not involved in spying.

On April 19, Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad called for Saberi to receive fair treatment from the country's judiciary.

In a letter to Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi, Ahmadinejad ordered him to "take care that the defendants have all the legal freedoms and rights to defend themselves against the charges."