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World & Nation

Iran reaches unspecified verdict in case of U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian

Jason Rezaian

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian American correspondent for the Washington Post, was accused of charges, including espionage, in a closed-door trial.

(Vahid Salemi / AP)

An Iranian court has reached a verdict in the case of a Washington Post correspondent jailed on espionage and other charges, the judiciary said Sunday, but neither the defense nor the journalist’s family was notified of the ruling.

“I have no idea what they decided,” Leila Ashsan, attorney for accused reporter Jason Rezaian, said in a telephone interview in Tehran, the Iranian capital. “Neither I or Jason’s mother has received any verdict.”

Earlier, the judiciary branch spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, said at a weekly news briefing that the court had ruled in the controversial case of Rezaian, who has been jailed for more than a year. But the judicial official said he did not know the verdict and was not aware whether authorities had provided it to the lawyer or the journalist’s family.

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The verdict can be appealed within 20 days after it has been received, the judiciary spokesman said.

In a statement, Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, called the latest development “vague and puzzling,” and said word of an unspecified ruling continued a pattern of “injustice” in the case.

“Jason is a victim — arrested without cause, held for months in isolation, without access to a lawyer, subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, and now convicted without basis,” Baron said. “The only thing that has ever been clear about this case is Jason’s innocence.”

The case has drawn condemnation from advocates of media freedom and been an irritant in relations between the United States and Iran, longtime adversaries without formal diplomatic ties since 1980. Rezaian’s family has mounted a vigorous international campaign to help free the journalist.

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Rezaian engaged solely in legitimate and legal journalistic activities while acting as Tehran bureau chief for the Post since 2012, according to his employer, his family and his defense lawyer.

The jailed journalist’s brother, Ali Rezaian, said in a statement that news of a court decision “is unfortunately just another sad chapter in his 14-month illegal imprisonment and opaque trial process.”

Ali Rezaian added: “The Iranian government has never provided any proof of the trumped-up espionage and other charges against Jason, so today’s vague statement on a purported verdict, while certainly disappointing to our family, is not surprising.”

Jason Rezaian, 39, was tried for espionage and related national security charges in a closed-door proceeding this year in Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which often handles sensitive cases.

He was arrested July 22, 2014, along with three other journalists, including his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is a journalist for The National newspaper, based in United Arab Emirates. Rezaian is the only one of the four who remains in custody. If convicted on espionage charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Rezaian is a native of the San Francisco Bay area and a dual U.S.-Iranian national. Iran does not recognize dual nationality of its citizens.

Mostaghim is a special correspondent.


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