The Washington Post and other supporters of journalist Jason Rezaian on Wednesday amplified demands for his release from Iranian custody, a day before the reporter marks 500 days since his arrest and subsequent closed-door trial on charges that include espionage.
The new pressures, including updated filings by The Post with a U.N. panel, seek to boost international leverage on Iran following the reported conviction and sentencing of Rezaian, The Post’s correspondent in Tehran.
The case drawn widespread outrage from media freedom groups and sharp criticism from senior Obama administration officials and American lawmakers.
The Post, meanwhile, has strongly denied any wrongdoing by Rezaian and has called the detention “cruel and arbitrary” treatment against a journalist who never strayed beyond the normal work of news gathering.
“This isn’t a real case,” said David Bowker, an attorney at the firm of WilmerHale, who is representing The Post, “but rather a case of political theater.”
Iran, however, has failed to publicly clarify the allegations against Rezaian during sessions in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, which barred his family and others from attending. Last month, Iran state media reported that Rezaian — a dual Iranian-American citizen — had been sentenced to a prison term following his apparent conviction in October, but gave no other details.
Martin Baron, executive editor of The Post, called the 500-day mark of Rezaian’s detention “the grimmest” of milestones — 56 days longer than the hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“Five hundred days robbed of his life, 500 days deprived of his family, 500 days denied any semblance of justice,” Baron said in a statement.
“Jason has done nothing wrong,” he added. “Iran has never even bothered to produce any evidence against him. His so-called trial was a sham. Recent announcements, without details, of his supposed ‘conviction’ and ‘sentencing’ have only added new layers of cruelty.”
Source: The Washington Post | Brian Murphy