One Lucky Journalist Freed; Others Still ScrewedS

Iran is abruptly freeing Roxana Saberi, the freelance American-Iranian journalist who'd been sentenced to eight years in prison last month for spying. US government arm-twisting wins! So what about those other jailed journalists?

Roxana Saberi had worked for influential outlets like NPR and the BBC. When Iran arrested her and sentenced her after a one-day trial, there was enough stern backroom government lobbying that Ahmadinejad himself came out and called for a new trial for her. Now, boom, she's free.

But then there's the case of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two freelancers for Current TV arrested in North Korea in March. Nobody gives much of a fuck about them! Not Current, apparently, which didn't even cover their arrest (for good reason? We don't know!). And definitely not North Korea itself, which seems to be going even more crazy than usual, lately:

U.S. officials have said less about Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling than they have about an American reporter, Roxana Saberi, who was recently convicted of espionage in Iran. The strategy is partly a gamble that not provoking the North Koreans may lead to a speedy resolution, analysts say, but it's also a sign of the increased uncertainty in dealing with Pyongyang.

U.S. officials have said little about the journalists' situation, but have indicated they aren't making progress with Pyongyang. A person not in government who is familiar with the situation said that North Korea isn't talking to the U.S. at all.

So if you're going to get arrested in a hostile foreign country at least do it in one that has oil, because you know they love money enough to be negotiated with. [WSJ, CNN. Pic via]