April 22, 2009 / 2:36 PM / 11 years ago

Iran president won't intervene in journalist case

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he would not intervene in the case of imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, ABC television reported.

Asked in an interview if he would release Saberi as goodwill gesture, Ahmadinejad said through a translator, “I am not a judge. And I do not pass judgment over judicial cases. And in Iran, the judiciary is independent.

“I think (President Barack) Mr. Obama, as a sign of change, and all also to encourage friendship, should allow laws to be processed fairly and allow the judiciary to carry out its duties,” he said in remarks aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America. “I am sure that she will not be mistreated.”

Saberi, 31, was sentenced Saturday on charges of spying for the United States. The verdict that could complicate Washington’s efforts toward reconciliation with the Islamic Republic after three decades of mutual mistrust.

On Tuesday, the U.S.-born Saberi appealed her sentence and her father warned she would starve herself to death if the verdict is upheld.

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