Which made the linked article over at The Independent (UK) all the more interesting for having provided some of the missing details. For example, the charge of spying was not simply a trumped up charge, but had some basis in fact:
A joyful Roxana Saberi yesterday thanked those who helped win her release as her lawyer revealed his client had been convicted of spying in part because she had a copy of a confidential Iranian report on the war in Iraq.
Ms Saberi, a freelance journalist who was freed on Monday after four months in prison in Tehran, had copied the report "out of curiosity" while she worked as a freelance translator for a powerful body connected to Iran's ruling clerics, said the lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht.
It turned into a key part of the prosecution's case against Ms Saberi during her secret, closed-door trial in mid-April before an Iranian security court, Mr Nikbakht said. Prosecutors had also cited a trip to Israel that Ms Saberi had made in 2006, he said. Iran bars its citizens from visiting Israel, its regional nemesis. (Emphasis mine.)
Now certainly the Iranian government didn't help their image in their rush to judgment:
Ms Saberi's original trial was a swift, single session that her father said had lasted only 15 minutes. She didn't have a chance to speak and she was sentenced to eight years in prison, drawing an outcry from Washington.
But she spoke in an appeals court on Sunday, explaining her side to the judges, Mr Nikbakht said.
Still, she had done wrong, as she admitted to the court:
Ms Saberi had admitted that she had copied the document two years ago but said she had not passed it on to the Americans as prosecutors had claimed. She had apologised, saying it had been a mistake to take the report.
At the time, Ms Saberi was doing occasional translations for the website of the Expediency Council, which is made up of clerics who mediate between the legislature, the presidency and Iran's clerical leadership over constitutional disputes. Mr Nikbakht gave no details on what was in the document because it remains confidential.
Ms Saberi also told the appeals court that she had engaged in no activities against Iran during her visit to Israel, Mr Nikbakht said.
The court accepted her explanation and reduced her sentence to a suspended two-year term, prompting her release.
And to make matters worse for Westerners who despise Iran and its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the latter comes out of the story looking like one of the good guys:
Another of Ms Saberi's lawyers, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, said a letter from the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the court, urging it to give Ms Saberi's case a complete review, had helped bring about the sentence reduction.
Update: Moon of Alabama comes to similar conclusions:
Iran had good reason and acted within its laws in arresting and sentencing Roxana Saberi. The 'western' media used the case for the usual Iran bashing. Ironically this publicity gave Iran the opening for offering a deal.
The speed of the appeal sentence and the probation are unusual. The personal intervention of Ahmedinejad and the presence of Vali Reza Nasr in Tehran point to a government deal. For immediately setting free Saberi, Iran will get some U.S. concession.
Within a few days we are likely to see some reporting in Iranian media that the three diplomats arrested in Arbil two years ago have been set free.
A small step on the larger path of U.S. Iranian détente.