VIENNA – An official says American journalist Roxana Saberi, who spent four months in an Iranian prison, is on her way to the United States.
Robert Hugins, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Austria, says Roxana Saberi left Vienna Friday morning on a flight bound for Washington, D.C.
The 32-year-old journalist, who moved to Iran six years ago, was arrested in late January and convicted of spying in a closed-door trial that her Iranian-born father said lasted only 15 minutes.
She was freed on May 11 and spent a week in Austria recuperating.
Hugins said Roxana is traveling with her parents and a family friend.
Saberi, who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and moved to Iran six years ago, has dual citizenship.
Her lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, has said she was convicted in part because she had a copy of a confidential Iranian report on the U.S. war in Iraq. He said she had copied the report "out of curiosity" while she worked as a freelance translator for a powerful body connected to Iran's ruling clerics. Prosecutors also cited a trip to Israel that Saberi made in 2006, he said. Iran bars its citizens from visiting Israel, its top regional nemesis.
He said she told appeals court judges that she had copied the document two years ago but did not pass it on to the Americans as prosecutors claimed. He gave no details on what was in the document because it remains confidential.
The United States had said the charges against Saberi were baseless and repeatedly demanded her release. The case against her had become an obstacle to President Barack Obama's attempts at dialogue with Iran, the top U.S. adversary in the Middle East.
Saberi, who at one point went on a hunger strike, told reporters when she arrived in Vienna that she was grateful for the support she had received.
"I heard that certain people, many people, went through a lot of troubles because of me," she said.
"Both journalists and non-journalists around the world, I've been hearing, supported me very much and it was very moving for me to hear this."