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Patrick Springer, Published December 26 2009

Saberi taking life ‘one month at a time’

Editor’s note: Readers submitted their nominations, and Forum editors narrowed the list. The result is our “10 to Watch in 2010” list. It’s an elite group of local folks – some you already know, some you’re likely to know soon – who are poised to be newsmakers in 2010. Look for this feature to run daily through Dec. 31.

Roxana Saberi’s relaxation takes the form of playing the piano, exercising, chatting with friends and following events in Iran.

Her work also involves events in Iran – notably the months she spent in notorious Evin prison, where she was held by the regime as an alleged spy.

Back home in Fargo following her release in May, Saberi is immersed in writing a book slated for publication in 2010.

“Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran,” will be published by HarperCollins and is expected to be released April 6.

“It has been both healing and challenging for me in many ways,” Saberi told The Forum in an e-mail interview. “I have been fortunate to have had good friends and wonderful editors helping me through it. I hope readers will enjoy it.”

Saberi, a graduate of Fargo North High School and Concordia College, was working as a freelance journalist in Iran when she was arrested in January 2009.

Her captivity caused an international stir, with journalists and diplomats urging her release. She went on a hunger strike to protest her incarceration.

After a one-hour trial behind closed doors, she was convicted of espionage – a charge she vehemently denied – and sentenced to eight years in prison, suspended by an Iranian appeals court.

After her May 10 release, Saberi returned to her parents’ home in north Fargo. She has spoken out for other prisoners, including an Iranian woman who was her former cellmate.

“I hope to share with readers my thoughts on Iranian society, state and society relations in Iran, human rights, and Iran-U.S. relations,” Saberi said. “I also hope to share stories about human struggles and courage.”

What’s next for Saberi, who has said she’d like to return someday to Iran?

“I’m not sure yet,” she said. “For now, I’m taking one month at a time.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522