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American journalist sentenced to prison in Iran

An Iranian court in Tehran sentenced an American journalist to eight years in prison Saturday after she was convicted of spying for the United States, a defense lawyer told Al Jazeera.

Roxana Saberi, 31, has dual nationality in the U.S. and Iran, and has lived in Iran for the past six years. She has been in prison since January, Al Jazeera reported. She was initially arrested on the charge of buying alcohol, but was later accused of working as a reporter without press credentials, the New York Times reported. She was put on trial for spying, however, the prosecutor's office told the New York Times.

Saberi release has been called for by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and both North Dakota senators, New York Times reported. Saberi grew up in Fargo, N.D.

Saberi was working as a freelance journalist at the time of her arrest, Al Jazeera reported. She has previously reported for National Public Radio, Fox News and the BBC. The Iranian government revoked her press credentials in 2006.