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Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 14:24 UK

Saberi 'had classified document'

Roxana saberi
Roxana Saberi was freed on Monday after four months in prison

A lawyer for US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi says she was convicted of spying for the US partly because she had obtained a classified document.

Her lawyer said she had access to a confidential Iranian report on the US war in Iraq - but had not used it.

The lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said the report had been prepared by a research centre of the Iranian presidency.

Ms Saberi was freed on appeal on Monday, after four months in prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

She was originally sentenced to eight years but her term was cut on appeal to two years suspended. She denies the spying charge.

'No bad intentions'

Mr Nikbakht did not say how Roxana Saberi had gained access to the document, prepared by Iran's Centre for Strategic Research.

"Because she did not have bad intentions and did not use it, she was sentenced to a two-year suspended jail term," he told Reuters news agency.

Ms Saberi, whose parents live in the US, is now able to leave Iran. She has been banned by the Iranians from working as a journalist there for five years.

On Tuesday, in her first public comments since being released, she said she was very happy to be free , and she thanked people around the world who had supported her.

Her case had attracted international attention. The White House in Washington said Iran's decision to free her was a "humanitarian gesture".

She originally faced a less serious accusation of buying alcohol, and later of working as a reporter without a valid press card.

The spying charge was introduced later, and she was tried and sentenced behind closed doors.

Ms Saberi worked as a freelance journalist for news organisations, including the BBC and the US-based National Public Radio.



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