Roxana Saberi Arrived Home

In Foreign Affairs, human rights, Journalism on May 25, 2009 by Editor Z

On Friday Journalist Roxana Saberi was released from an Iranian prison where she had been held for four months on accusations that she was spying for the United States and faced a penalty under law of as much as eight years in Iranian Prison. The incident made global headlines. Saberi arrived at a Virginia airport Friday.

According to Reporters Without Borders, there is additional good news for the journalist. The Cannes Film Festival expressed its outrage at the detention of Saberi and gave an award to a film about underground musicians in Iran, which she contributed to as one of the film’s screen writers.

“No One Knows About Persian Cats” was awarded today in the “Un Certain Regard” section of the Cannes Film Festival. Co-scripted by the recently released Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, it opened this section of the festival on 14 May.
“By singling out this film, the jury has deliberately sent a clear message to the Iranian authorities, who have banned it from being screened,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The award also sends a message of support for free expression to Iran’s independent musicians. There should be no restrictions on the screening of ‘No One Knows About Persian Cats’ in Iran.”
Filmed clandestinely in Iran and directed by Bahman Ghobadi, the movie shows Tehran’s underground music scene and tells the stories for two young musicians who try to form a band in order to play in a festival in Europe. All musical performances and productions in Iran need permission from the culture ministry. Many music genres are banned.
The film reveals a different side of the Iranian capital, one that is little known. Ghobadi, has described it has a “cry against the status quo.”
Released from a Tehran prison on 11 May after spending 100 days in detention, Saberi arrived today in the United States. She was arrested in Tehran on 31 January and given an eight-year prison sentence on a charge of spying for the United States. It was finally reduced to a two-year suspended sentence on appeal.”



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