Roxana Saberi er halvt iransk og halvt japansk, født i USA. Hun ønsket å bli utenrikskorrespondent, og har i seks år arbeidet ut fra Iran. Hun forsikret venner at hun godt visste hvor grensen for hva man kan si offentlig gikk. Hun ønsket ikke å havne i trøbbel. I januar ble hun arrestert, og nå er hun tiltalt for spionasje.

A dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, she was arrested in January and has been detained in a prison north of the capital Tehran.

Saberi has lived in Iran for the last six years. She was initially accused of working without press credentials, but a judge on Wednesday leveled the much more serious allegation: Spying for the United States.

Saberi will stand trial next week. The Obama administration and national news organizations have been pushing for her release.

The case has shocked and alarmed Saberi’s friends, teachers and former colleagues in Fargo, where she grew up, attended college and started her journalism career.

«She’s just a sweet, genuine person,» said Cindy Larson-Casselton, whose late husband was a media studies professor at Concordia College and a mentor to Saberi. «She was a babysitter for us, and we saw in her a wonderful role model for our own daughters.»

Saberi’s father is Iranian and her mother Japanese, but she was born in the United States and attended grade school in Fargo. Her ninth-grade history teacher, Vic Youngs, called her «one of the brightest people I’ve ever had in class.»

Journalist held in Iran was classic overachiever