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Roxana Saberi speaks in Moorhead about fight against global injustice

Roxana Saberi gives a presentation Tuesday night at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD - In mid-2009, former imprisoned journalist Roxana Saberi was hoping to tell the story of two other women still at the Iranian prison called Evin, where she had spent 100 days before her release.

She had been interviewed by a global news organization and the interview was set to air June 25.

Unfortunately, pop artist Michael Jackson died that day and the interview was bumped. On Tuesday, Saberi said the interview ended up not running for a month.

Although she joked to the sold-out crowd of more than 250 at Minnesota State Community and Technical College's Oscar Bergos Center, Saberi's message of the global injustices like the ones she experienced are still very real.

"I've grown sensitive to injustice," Saberi said.

Saberi spoke at MSCTC as part of the college's annual M State Orator Series, said Shawn Anderson, dean of student services.

The Fargo native tells her story of imprisonment through her book, "Caught Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran." She explained Tuesday that Evin prison is a place where Iran notoriously holds "political" criminals such as journalists, human rights workers and attorneys, many of whom are still there.

Saberi said Iran has the third-highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world. Although she can relate - Saberi was imprisoned while researching her book about the people of her father's homeland - Saberi also credits the media for helping speed her release.

Saberi said she found most Iranian people did not hate Americans but instead were inquisitive and wished relations between the two countries would someday improve.

Saberi said Tuesday that the rights of women in Islamic-ruled countries are still very unequal. She spotlighted an Iranian law that does not allow women to sing any solo parts publicly.

MSCTC student Baifa James said she was inspired by Saberi's message, especially her focus on current women's rights issues.

"I think it's very important that people know what's going on in the world," James said. "How can we make a difference if we don't know what's going on?"

Saberi asked the crowd to do one thing for her on Tuesday night: visit her website and sign petitions helping those who have been victims of injustice like herself.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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