Review of Saberi sentence ordered by top judge

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Iran’s highest judge ordered a “careful, quick and fair” consideration of an appeal against the eight-year jail sentence imposed on Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist who was tried last week on charges of espionage. Saberi has reported from Iran for NPR, the BBC, ABC News, FOX and other news organizations, and has been held in Iran’s Evin Prison for months. NPR, which joined other major news networks early this month in calling public attention to Saberi’s detention, issued a statement responding to news of the ruling by a secret Iranian court: “We are deeply distressed by this harsh and unwarranted sentence,” said NPR President Vivian Schiller. “Through her work for NPR over several years, we know her as an established and respected professional journalist.” In an interview NPR’s Scott Simon on Friday, Reza Saberi, the 31-year-old reporter’s father said his daughter was coerced into making incriminating statements.