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Verdict expected soon for U.S. journalist charged in Iran

  • Story Highlights
  • Iran has charged American journalist Roxana Saberi with spying
  • Verdict will come in next few weeks, spokesman for judiciary says
  • Saberi's father says daughter notified him in February of her arrest
  • Authorities say Saberi posed as a journalist to spy in Iran
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(CNN) -- A verdict against an American journalist facing espionage charges in Iran will be handed down in the next few weeks, the judiciary said Tuesday.

Journalist Roxana Saberi, shown working in Iran in 2004, is accused of spying in the country.

Journalist Roxana Saberi, shown working in Iran in 2004, is accused of spying in the country.

Roxana Saberi is charged with spying, with Iranian authorities saying she has confessed to doing so.

The trial began Monday, and Saberi's attorney has completed his defense, a spokesman for the judiciary, Alireza Jamshidi, told reporters.

"Jamshidi emphasized that since Roxana Saberi's last defense statement has been completed, therefore the verdict should be forthcoming within the next couple of weeks," the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.

Saberi's attorney, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Reporters asked the judiciary spokesman whether they could see the documents filed in the case, but were told there was no law allowing that, Mehr reported.

Authorities said Saberi spied inside the country by posing as a journalist.

Saberi's father, Reza Saberi, said last month that his daughter called him on February 10 and said she had been arrested 10 days earlier.

Reza Saberi said his daughter initially thought she was detained for buying wine. Alcohol is banned in Iran.

"She said she bought a bottle of wine last year and kept it to take to a friend for her birthday," he said. "She said authorities told her the person who sold her the wine turned her in."

A report last week by Iran's Press TV said Saberi was arrested in January for working illegally as a journalist after her press card was revoked in 2006.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi also said last month that Saberi had been working in Iran without a permit.

"Her press card was revoked," Qashqavi said. "Without a permit, she should not have been engaged in news and information gathering in Iran."

Qashqavi did not provide details about why her press card was revoked.

Saberi's father said she has freelanced for National Public Radio and other news organizations and was writing a book about Iranian culture. She was almost finished, he said, and planned to return to the United States this month.

CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.

All About IranNational Public Radio Inc.

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