Merz, Ahmadinejad discuss jailed journalist
The Swiss and Iranian presidents discuss the sentencing of US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi.GENEVA - Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz discussed jailed US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi during a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Sunday, his ministry said.
Swiss authorities said in a statement that "various unresolved cases of consular protection were discussed, including the sentencing of the American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi."
Other issues relating to relations with the United States were also discussed, it added.
Swiss officials could not be reached for further details.
Switzerland has represented US consular interests in Iran since 1980 and acted as a mediator after Tehran and Washington ended diplomatic relations.
Saberi was sentenced by an Iranian revolutionary court to eight years in jail on charges of spying for the United States during a closed trial, in a verdict revealed Saturday.
US President Barack Obama earlier Sunday denied she was a spy and demanded her release.
Ahmadinejad called on Tehran's prosecutor to examine the cases against both Saberi and an Iranian-Canadian blogger who was jailed since November, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported Sunday.
The Iranian president arrived in the western Swiss city earlier to attend the UN's Durban Review Conference against racism, xenophobia and intolerance beginning on Monday.
Ahmadinejad is due to speak at the conference at 1300 GMT and hold a press conference an hour later, amid fears that he might repeat verbal attacks on Israel and controversial comments on the Holocaust.
Merz "expressed Switzerland's concern relating to human rights in Iran" during the meeting with his Iranian counterpart "in particular concerning corporal punishment, stonings and the execution of minors," the statement added.
The Swiss president also expressed the hope that the conference against racism would take place "in a constructive atmosphere and one of mutual respect."
AFP / Expatica