An Iranian-American journalist, whose family has not heard from her for three weeks, was arrested for engaging in “illegal” activities because she continued to work after the government revoked her press credentials Iran said Monday.
Roxana Saberi moved to Iran six years ago and had previously reported for NPR, the BBC and FOX News.
"She called from an unknown place and said she’s been kept in detention,” her father Reza Saberi said about the Feb. 10 call. “She said that she had bought a bottle of wine and the person that sold it had reported it and then they came and arrested her."
The wine purchase was just an excuse to arrest her, he said.
Roxana Saberi said that she had already been held for ten days, and called back moments later to say that she would be released in two more days.
Neither her family in the U.S. nor her friends in Tehran have heard from her since.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry, which confirmed Rozana Saberi’s arrest, did not say why her press credentials had been revoked in 2006, or whether she was still being held.
“Her accreditation was over in 2006 after Iranian authorities revoked her press card,” Hasan Qashqavi, a spokesman said. “Her activities since 2006 were completely illegal and unauthorized.”
National Public Radio, the US radio station for which Ms Saberi reported, confirmed that Iran had revoked her press credentials but said that they had tolerated her continuing to file short “on the spot” news stories.
Saberi said he believes his daughter was writing a book about Iran at the time of her arrest.