- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed calls on Monday for Iran to release an American journalist convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Clinton said Roxana Saberi is innocent and should be freed immediately. She also said she hoped for positive action from the full investigation into the case ordered by Iran’s judiciary chief and a request from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Tehran’s top Tehran prosecutor to ensure she is allowed a full defense on appeal.

“We believe she should be freed immediately, that the charges against her are baseless and that she has been subjected to a process that has been non-transparent, unpredictable (and) arbitrary,” Clinton told reporters at the State Department.

“We hope that actions will be taken as soon as possible by the authorities in Iran, including the judiciary, to bring about the speedy release of Miss Saberi and her return home,” she said, adding that the Obama administration is continuing to work with Swiss intermediaries who represent U.S. interests in Iran to secure her freedom.

“We are … hoping that these remarks lead to actions,” Clinton said, referring to Ahmadinejad’s comment on Saberi’s appeal.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the administration was looking to the Swiss for “more details about the sentence” and “to make sure that she has been properly treated.”

“She’s been wrongly accused,” he said. “There have been charges that she committed espionage. It’s absolutely without foundation.”

Saberi, who was born in the U.S. and grew up in Fargo, N. D., was convicted last week after a one-day trial behind closed doors. President Barack Obama said Sunday he was “gravely concerned” about Saberi’s safety and well-being and was confident she was not involved in espionage.

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