Saberi describes her interrogation, detention in Iran

posted at 3:35 pm on May 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

ABC will have an exclusive television interview with journalist Roxana Saberi, who just left an Iranian prison to return to the US after getting convicted of espionage.  Saberi, whose case made international headlines and eventually got released by the Iranians, says she initially confessed to the charges after being promised her release if she did.  However, her immediate recantation angered prosecutors, who threw the book at her:

Saberi, who turned 32 in prison, said that while she was never physically tortured, she was subjected to hours-long interrogation sessions, during which she was blindfolded and bombarded with questions by a group of men who promised her freedom if she confessed to being a spy.

“Since they were making these threats to me — that I would have to remain in jail if I did not make this confession — and because nobody knew where I was, I confessed to being a U.S. spy,” she said. “I thought I had to do this to be free, but my conscience got the better of me.”

What she did next, Saberi said, may have contributed to her eight-year sentence.

“I felt that the God that I had felt before had abandoned me was still with me, but he wasn’t pleased with me and so I recanted my confession, knowing full well that it would mean I wouldn’t be free,” she said. “And indeed the prosecutor was quite angry with me and he sent my case to trial.”

Despite the anguish that followed, Saberi said she’s glad she stuck by her decision.

Interestingly, a letter from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have made the difference.  Ahmadinejad told George Stephanopoulos that nothing he could do would deflect the judgment of the court:

“I am not a judge. And I do not pass judgment over judicial cases. In Iran the judiciary is independent. Our judiciary is not a political apparatus. It passes judgment in accordance with the law.”

Ahmadinejad eventually sent a letter to the appeals court, and Saberi’s sentence was reduced shortly thereafter.

Everything in Iran runs through the ruling mullahs, including Ahmadinejad and the courts.  Iran is a theocracy, not a republic with independent and self-checking branches of government.  Ahmadinejad’s letter served notice to the court that the mullahs had decided that the case was causing them too many headaches and to find a way to get Saberi out of Iran wihout losing face.  The reduced sentence came immediately afterwards, and Saberi is now home.

Saberi says she wants to finish work on the book she had started in Iran.  It should make for a very interesting, and at least occasionally harrowing, read.

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North Korea (and possibly Burma) exist to make Iran seem mild and rational.

YYZ on May 28, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Glad she’s out.

See, these mullahs are really just posturing pussy-a$$ bullies.

omnipotent on May 28, 2009 at 3:40 PM

See, these mullahs are just posturing pussy-a$$ bullies.

omnipotent on May 28, 2009 at 3:41 PM

“I am not a judge. And I do not pass judgment over judicial cases. In Iran the judiciary is independent. Our judiciary is not a political apparatus. It passes judgment in accordance with the law.”

Wow, that Ahmadinejad sure isn’t very empathetic.

LibTired (KO) on May 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM

“In Iran the judiciary is independent. Our judiciary is not a political apparatus. It passes judgment in accordance with the law.”

We should restructure the Supreme Court that way, no?

Daggett on May 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Glad she’s out of the clutches of
DinnerJackets goons,and is safely
on American soil!!

canopfor on May 28, 2009 at 3:46 PM

“Our judiciary is not a political apparatus.”

We could learn a lot from Iran……….

Seven Percent Solution on May 28, 2009 at 3:47 PM

NOW: Yawn

darwin on May 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM

It is touching how she was convicted of her sin of lying so she would be released. I will pray that Roxana Saberi will hear the gospel and be convicted that all her efforts to please God are like filthy rags before him and that only Christ’s death and resurrection is all she needs to trust in to stand right before God.

shick on May 28, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Actually, the behind-the-scenes “scuttlebutt” is that the U.S. released the four so-called Iranian “diplomats” (aka “revolutionary guards”) we had captured in Iraq and have been holding for helping terrorists. The fact that this has not been in the MSM leads one to believe there may be some credence to this. http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6074 Has anyone seen any corroborating evidence?

simeon on May 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM

yes yes very interesting, why is there no article on Hotair today about Maj Gen Taguba comments on the unreleased photos of what our soldiers did to enemy combatants?

just curious.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

why is there no article on Hotair today about Maj Gen Taguba comments on the unreleased photos of what our soldiers did to enemy combatants?

just curious.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Did you look in the headlines section at the top of the main page, or were you too busy pitchin’ a tent in anticipation of the pics being released?

rw on May 28, 2009 at 3:57 PM

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Best to look before you leap.

darwin on May 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Dear Ms Saberi,

While we are worlds apart in politics that just means we disagree. As an American citizen I am happy you are home. Had you not been released, worlds apart or not, I’d gladly do what I could to get you the hell out of there. Our rejoicing in your return to freedom is what sets Americans apart from the barbarians of the world.

Sincerely,

Limerick on May 28, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Our rejoicing in your return to freedom is what sets Americans apart from the barbarians of the world.

Sincerely

I agree with you but for how long will this last?

shick on May 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM

You couldn’t be more wrong. As Michael Ledeen has noted, the Iranians don’t give up hostages for nothing.

corona on May 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM

corona on May 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Which has what to do with Ms Saberi? If we traded that is our fault, not hers.

Limerick on May 28, 2009 at 4:04 PM

I saw the link, but nowhere for us to comment.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM

That’s not what you said. You said:

yes yes very interesting, why is there no article on Hotair today about Maj Gen Taguba comments on the unreleased photos of what our soldiers did to enemy combatants?

You can comment by clicking on the link

darwin on May 28, 2009 at 4:13 PM

darwin on May 28, 2009 at 4:13 PM

sorry for my poor wording.

I’d like to have a discussion about it HERE, with the hot air cohort.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM

So what the hell was she doing in Iran?

I’m assuming – since she was apparently there for years – that she was doing some kind of “Sean Penn” thing? Friendly to the government there?

What’s the story. Surely Iran wouldn’t have let an “honest” reporter remain there for so long? And what did she do to lose their favor?

HondaV65 on May 28, 2009 at 4:17 PM

I saw the link, but nowhere for us to comment.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Teh interwebs is hard!

Asher on May 28, 2009 at 4:17 PM

I’d like to have a discussion about it HERE, with the hot air cohort.

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM

I know what you mean – you want a full blog post – but if you click the number next to it, you can comment.

emailnuevo on May 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

P.S. I’d love to read her book.

Ahmadinejad’s letter served notice to the court that the mullahs had decided that the case was causing them too many headaches and to find a way to get Saberi out of Iran wihout losing face.

Manifestly. Haha, independent judiciary.

emailnuevo on May 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Asher on May 28, 2009 at 4:17 PM

emailnuevo on May 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Wow, I feel incredibly stupid.

I have been coming here for like 18months-2 years and I have NEVER realized that…

facepalm…hard.

Also, Asher….do you also frequent a lexus enthusiasts forum?

beefytee on May 28, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Is she blaming the US at all? Let us know–it will make it easier to watch.

PattyJ on May 28, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Iran is a theocracy, not a republic with independent and self-checking branches of government. Ahmadinejad’s letter served notice to the court that the mullahs had decided that the case was causing them too many headaches and to find a way to get Saberi out of Iran without losing face.

I’ll bet “the One” could get you released here too.

Obamanation is a theocracy, God optional, but a religion nonetheless.

Speakup on May 28, 2009 at 7:17 PM

Well…I kinda wonder how the friends and family of this girl feel about her “interrogation”.
Isn’t there something in your 2000 year old book about sowing the whirlwind?

strangelet on May 28, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Need a lil help?

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.”

strangelet on May 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Roxana Saberi is an Iranian apologist and even after her arrest, I doubt she’ll stop spinning her propaganda for them. It was fitting that she as the one arrested this time.

Blake on May 29, 2009 at 4:51 AM