The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he would like to travel to Iran to personally appeal for the release of a U.S. journalist convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Jackson says he “would be anxious to travel with a delegation to Iran if we are permitted and make an appeal for her freedom.”
Jackson was speaking at a university forum during a visit Monday to Malaysia.
Iran has released very few facts about Roxana Saberi’s case and initially said she was arrested for working without press credentials. The government later charged the 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen with spying for the United States and convicted her in a one-day trial behind closed doors.
“If our voices are heard in Iran today, I would be anxious to travel with a delegation to Iran, if we are permitted, and make an appeal for her freedom,” said the longtime civil rights activist, according to his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson, 67, was speaking Tuesday at a peace conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Whenever we’ve brought people out of captivity, whether in Syria, Cuba, Iraq, or Yugoslavia, or Liberia, it’s always opened a diplomatic door to reduce tensions,” he added.
n 1984, Jackson successfully secured the release of a Navy pilot held in Syria. In 1991, he helped secure the release of 500 “international guests” held in Iraq, and in 1999, he worked to persuade Yugoslavia to release three U.S. soldiers held there during the Kosovo conflict.