Once more we discover that press freedom and lawful arrest remain awkward bedfellows in Iran, particularly when it comes to Iranian-American journalists with a penchant for perceived taboo subjects.
When Roxana Saberi was arrested last weekend on the pretext of purchasing a bottle of wine, eyebrows were raised; now that confirmation has been issued that she is interred at the notorious Evin prison, the true motivation behind her arrest is clarified.
In an ironic twist, Saberi has previously reported on women being arrested as part of a renewed morality crackdown “against fashions deemed un-Islamic”.
Since her arrest officials have accused the 31-year-old of reporting illegally after her permit had been revoked two years previously.
Saberi, who has reported for NPR, the BBC and Fox News, has been residing in Iran since 2003, while working as a journalist and pursuing a master’s degree in Iranian studies and international relations.
According to her father Reza Saberi, while her permit had been revoked, she had remained in Tehran to continue her studies while compiling a book about Iranian society.
It’s been almost one year since the arrest of Esha Momeni, who was detained at Evin for four weeks after conducting research on women’s movements, and the parallel is lucid.
Here’s hoping that Saberi’s stay at Evin ends sooner, rather than later, than Momeni’s.