Weekend Edition Sunday, March 1, 2009: Reporter Roxana Saberi, who has reported from Tehran for NPR News and other news organizations, was detained by Iranian authorities Jan. 31. The last time her family spoke with her was Feb. 10, 2009.
TEHRAN — Iran has arrested an Iranian-American reporter who worked for National Public Radio and other news organizations out of Iran, her father told N.P.R. on Sunday.
The father, Reza Saberi, said that his daughter, Roxana Saberi, 31, who has worked as a freelancer in Iran for six years, was arrested Jan. 31 by the authorities after buying a bottle of wine. He said she called Feb. 10 and told him that she was in custody but that she could be released soon.
“She called from an unknown place and said she’s been kept in detention,” Mr. Saberi said from Fargo, N.D., where her family lives.
“She said that she had bought a bottle of wine and the person that sold it had reported it and then they came and arrested her,” he said, adding that the wine purchase was just an excuse to arrest her. Alcoholic drinks are banned in Iran.
Often it’s Roxana Saberi’s voice that transcends continents in her radio broadcasts. But today, her voice is all her parents want to hear.
“As long as she calls, at least we hear her voice and we know that she’s alive,” her soft-spoken father, Reza Saberi, said Saturday in the family’s north Fargo home.
The 31-year-old Fargo North High School and Concordia College graduate has been working in Tehran, Iran, as a freelance journalist for six years, reporting for news organizations such as NPR and the BBC.
Now, the former Miss North Dakota sits in an Iranian jail likely facing frequent interrogations after her arrest a month ago.
“Whenever I get up at night, I think about her and I worry a lot,” said her father, 67, surrounded by family photos. “This uncertainty is very, very bad when you don’t know where she is or what they’re doing to her or why they’re holding her.”