For once, there is support for a victim of the mullahs. On both sides of the Atlantic, people are rallying to Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist imprisoned in Tehran after a typical one-day “trial” that led to her conviction for spying.
In France, Reporters Without Borders has started a hunger strike in solidarity with Roxana Saberi, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge of spying for the United States.
Saberi has herself been on hunger strike since April 21 and, according to her father, Reza Saberi, who visited her in Tehran’s Evin prison yesterday, she is “determined and ready to go all the way.” He said she appeared “much weaker” as a result of going without food for a week.
“Roxana has been significantly weakened by these seven days of hunger strike and we are very concerned for her health,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We are therefore symbolically taking over the hunger strike in a gesture of solidarity, so that she no longer has to go on. Reporters Without Borders activists began their hunger strike at 11 a.m. today in Paris. . . . Roxana Saberi needs to know she is not alone, and that she can now take a rest. We will not abandon her.”
And, there is an American group, “Free Roxana,” whose members and supporters are similarly fasting, and echoing the Reports Without Borders call to show solidarity with Ms. Saberi. From their press release:
PLEASE HELP US GET THE WORD OUT TO WOMEN IN AMERICA AND TO ROXANA’S PARENTS!
American women are chain-hunger-striking in solidarity with Roxana as she ends her 8th day of defiance:
We are only consuming what Roxana drinks in her Iranian prison cell: sweetened water. We are standing with her and for free speech. We are standing against those who wrongly accused her, tried her behind closed doors in a 1-day hearing, and sentenced her to prison. She has declared that she will not live in prison but “will be freed or die.” We cannot let her go through this alone and we must tell Iranian hardliners, and the entire world, that we will stand with her in defense of western liberty and fundamental human rights.
This is difficult for those with jobs outside the home and for moms who care for children. However, in comparison to what Roxana went through today, on the 8th day of her hunger strike, it is little to ask. We are still in our homes and enjoy our comforts; we can still speak, think, read, and gather in the manner we choose — without being hauled into a kangaroo court and charged with “spying.” Roxana is an American citizen and her natural right to life and liberty has been violated by a brutal system. It is time to sacrifice a little for our hard won American ideals and time to tell the thugs and bullies of the world that we will stand together in honor of a valiant defender of liberty.
We have set up a 10-day schedule and will add names in rotation at the point that the ten days have been filled. So far, five women are fasting today, April 28, 2009.
The “Free Roxana” website is here: www.freeroxana.net.
Contact Information for the Iranian Ambassador to the US is here:
His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, firstname.lastname@example.org
To write President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Karen Lugo (Assoc. Dir. Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Adjunct Prof., Chapman Univ. School of Law)
I don’t see why hunger strikes should be limited to women, and I will fast for a day later this week.