Ahmadinejad urges defense for US reporter

April 19, 2009 5:21:11 AM PDT
Iran's official news agency says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged the prosecution to ensure an American journalist convicted of spying for the U.S. be allowed to offer a full defense during her appeal. Sunday's IRNA report quotes a letter from Ahmadinejad's office to the chief Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi.

Iran said Saturday that Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, had been convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison. Her lawyer has said he will appeal.

The journalist's father, Reza Saberi, told National Public Radio Saturday that his daughter was not allowed a proper defense during her one-day trial behind closed doors a week ago.

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