Freed U.S. Reporter Arrives in Austria

Ad Feedback

VIENNA - Roxana Saberi, the U.S. journalist freed after some four months in an Iranian prison, left the Islamic Republic behind and flew to the Austrian capital with her parents early Friday.

Recovering From Ordeal

After landing at Vienna's airport, Saberi told reporters she planned to spend a few days in the city to recover from her ordeal.

"I came to Vienna because I heard it was a calm and relaxing place," Saberi said.

"I know you have many questions but I need some more time to think about what happened to me over the past couple of days," she said.

Her father, Reza Saberi, said they were staying with a friend in Austria. The family was accompanied by an unidentified man.

Saberi, poised and smiling, thanked all those who supported her during her ordeal, including Austria's ambassador to Iran and his family, whom she described as "very helpful."

"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," she said.

Saberi, referring to several recent statements about her case, stressed she was the only one who knew what really happened.

"Nobody knows about it as well as I do, and I will talk about it more in the future, I hope, but I am not prepared at this time," she said.

Saberi did not specify how long she planned to stay in Austria.

"We're going to stay here for at least a few days and then go on to the United States," she said, adding that they were as yet undecided about traveling to the Cannes Film festival, where a film she co-scripted premiered. The film's director is Saberi's partner.

Convicted of Spying

The 32-year-old journalist, who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and moved to Iran six years ago, was arrested in late January and was convicted of spying for the United States in a closed-door trial that her Iranian-born father said lasted only 15 minutes.

Saberi's mother, Akiko, also thanked all those who supported her daughter over the past few months.

"We're just so happy to be here," she said.

She was freed on Monday and reunited with her parents, who had come to Iran to seek her release, after an appeals court reduced her eight-year sentence to a two-year suspended sentence.

U.S. Demands Release

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 plan to dialogue with the top U.S. adversary in the Middle East.

At one point, Saberi held a hunger strike to protest her imprisonment, but she ended it after two weeks over her parents' concern for her health.

Saberi had worked as a freelance journalist for several organizations, including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.

After her arrest, Iranian authorities initially accused her of working without press credentials, but later leveled the far more serious charge of spying.

Iran released few details about the allegations, which she gave to U.S. intelligence officials.

copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.  


Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting? Are you facing a difficult situation?

Find peace with God, discover more about God or send us your prayer request.

Call The 700 Club Prayer Center at 1 (800) 823-6053, 24 hours a day.

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

CBN News
Veronika Oleksyn

Veronika Oleksyn

Associated Press Writer

The Associated Press is the backbone of the world's information system serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats. It is the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving as a source of news, photos, graphics, audio and video.