NU students, faculty and alumni help organize hunger strike for Saberi

Alexandra Finkel

Updated May 1, 7:40 p.m.
The Northwestern community is helping to organize a hunger strike on behalf of Medill alumna Roxana Saberi who is currently imprisoned in Iran.

Saberi was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison less than two weeks ago. On April 21, Saberi began her own hunger strike to demand her freedom. She has already lost 10 pounds, according to international news sources.

The FreeRoxana campaign, which is composed of NU students, faculty, alumni and others, will host a hunger strike that will begin Sunday, May 3 and continue until May 15. The 12-day fast is representative of the 12 days Saberi will have fasted by this Sunday.

Alexis Grant, Medill ’05, said she will fast on Sunday, which is also World Press Freedom Day, “so that Roxana doesn’t have to.”

Grant joined FreeRoxana last month and currently runs the campaign’s Twitter account. She is hoping the hunger strike will not only raise awareness of Saberi’s situation, but will encourage her to stop fasting.

“We’d like her to regain her strength in prison,” Grant said. “We’re hoping that she’ll feel like she doesn’t have to fast anymore, although we know that she may continue to do so.”

Anyone in the world can sign up on FreeRoxana.net and pledge to fast for 24 hours for any of the days between May 3-15, she said.Since the call for volunteers was released last night, at least 85 people have already signed up to fast including people from Mexico, the U.K. and Geneva, she said.

Several other organizations including Reporters Without Borders already have or will fast to show their support for Saberi in the coming days.