23 May 2009

Freed reporter arrives back in US, thanks Obama and Clinton

9:28 pm on 23 May 2009

Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi is back in the United States - after being freed from prison in Iran.

She landed at Washington Dulles airport on Friday with her parents after spending a week recuperating in Vienna, and was welcomed by friends and relatives.

She thanked President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for working to secure her release, and said she'd kept up her spirits in jail by singing the American national anthem.

Originally sentenced to eight years for spying

Ms Saberi, 32, from Fargo, North Dakota, was freed last Monday after spending four months in prison on spying charges, which she denied.

She was originally sentenced to eight years, but the term was cut on appeal to a two-year suspended sentence.

The BBC reports she was initially accused of buying alcohol, and then of working as a reporter without a valid press card. Then the spying charge was introduced and she was tried and sentenced behind closed doors.

Roxana Saberi reported for Radio New Zealand from Iran.