NU community calls for journalist's release

April 20, 2009 (EVANSTON, Ill.) Roxana Saberi is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Students and professors there are mobilizing to try to win her release.

Click here to find out about a rally in support of Saberi at Northwestern on Thursday.

The story of Roxana Saberi, the American journalist convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison, is being followed by people across the globe and especially on Northwestern University's campus.

Saberi was a graduate student at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism 10 years ago.

"She exemplifies the best of Medill and the best of journalism period," said Larry Stuelpnagel, Saberi's former professor.

Stuelpnagel was one of Saberi's professors and says she wanted to be a foreign correspondent.

"It takes courage to be a foreign correspondent. It takes courage when you're out there. You have to be ready to stand your ground," said Stuelpnagel.

And the U.S. is standing its ground.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton renewed calls for Iran to release Saberi. She had been working as a freelance reporter for six years in Iran for several news outlets.

"She should be freed immediately. The charges against her are baseless. And that she has been subjected to a process that has been non-transparent, unpredictable, and arbitrary," said Clinton.

Saberi has some unlikely support from Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, who says she deserves a full defense on appeal.

Saberi's parents hope Iran's judiciary heeds his warning. They traveled from their home in Fargo, North Dakota to Iran to see their daughter in prison.

"I hope they treat her well," said Reza Saberi, Roxana's father.

Meantime, at Northwestern, Roxana's story has become one more lesson for journalism students.

"We've heard stories before and they seem so far away about this journalist captured, that journalist captured; being that she was here and one of us, it shows that it can be anyone," said Shari Weiss, Northwestern University student.

Students will hold a rally Thursday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. in support of Saberi. They'll gather at 'the Rock,' a popular meeting place and call for her immediate release.

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