- Posted August 17, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
U.S. journalists freed
Roxana Saberi: Military ties the family wanted kept secret
Daughter. Fiancé. Friend. Freelance reporter. Over-achiever. Master Student. Former beauty queen. These are all phrases that have been used to describe Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American citizen that spent six years in Iran to only to become a prisoner of the notorious Evin Prison. The one world that was not used by the media to describe Roxana Saberi was sister.
An article posted on April 22, 2009,onValleyFaith.net, a faith-based information site for the Red River Valley where Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota reveals that Saberi's parents, Reza and Akiko, asked the community for support for the Saberi family through means of donations and respectful letters written to editors of various news mediums. They also had one other request – do not mention Jasper Saberi in any communications – local, national, or international. Local media agreed, with comments mentioning Jasper Saberi immediately being deleted from conversation.
It is now revealed, however, the request came with good reason. In 2006, while Saberi admits to visiting Israel, sometimes quoted going for work, other times quoted as going for recreation,Jasper Saberi was serving in the United States military in Afghanistan. In 1998, Jasper Saberi graduated with a B.S in Chemistry from North Dakota State University. That same semester, the Math and Science Department awarded him the American Institute of Chemists Foundation Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry Award. Roxana Saberi, along with her father Reza, attended the ceremony together. It was after graduation that he joined the military. According to military records, in August of 2007, Jasper Saberi was up for an officer promotion in Signals Intelligence Analysis, also know as MOS 98C.
Under the rules and regulations of any individual placed within Signals Intelligence Analysis, the ability to obtain top security clearance is among then. It is also required of personnel that there be no immediate family in countries that are known to use physical or mental coercion against those who hold interest of the United States or family members of those individuals. Roxana Saberi lived in Iran begin in 2003 until the end of her appeals in May of 2009, before and after the time of her brother's promotion in the military. A full job description along with rules regulating the position of Signals Intelligence Analysis can be found here .
The charges initiated against Saberi ranged from espionage, threat to national security, reporting without a valid press credential and traveling illegally to Israel, all charges Saberi denies. Once her appeals process was over, it was revealed that Saberi had obtained a document while working at a governmental think tank on the US War in Iraq. She claims she informed the Iranian government of its existence, she was sentence to possession of a classified document, awarded a suspended sentence of two years, and warned she could not report in Iran for five. Her attorney, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, has stated that because the United States was not at war with Iran pursuant to Article 508 of the Islamic law of punishment, a technicality led to the lighter sentence of possession of a classified document.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton pressured Iran to release Roxana Saberi, calling any charges against her baseless and criticizing Iran's lack of transparency in their legal process. Saberi returned to the United States on May 28, 2009 – seventeen days after being released from Evin Prison in Tehran.