Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian with The Washington Post is currently in an Iran jail being charged with four serious crimes, one being espionage. Two of the other charges according to reports include Propaganda against the establishment and collaborating with hostile governments.
Rezaian was first arrested nine months ago while working for the post. According to his attorney, his client had supposedly gathered information about both internal and external policy, followed by giving it to people who had hostile intent.
In the indictment, Rezaian is being accused of having written to President Obama, which would be considered a “hostile government”. Other charges against the Post reporter have yet to be disclosed.
This morning, Rezaian stood in front of the court with an official translator, this being the first time since his arrest being allowed to meet with an attorney. At this time, he remains in the infamous Evin Prison along with other political prisoners.
In a statement from Rezaian’s lawyer, no details about the charges can be discussed because the trial has not yet started. She did say that in looking at the case file, there is no evidence whatsoever that supports the charges, adding that the charges that have been filed are directly related to journalistic pursuit of Iranian stories.
The attorney went on to express that Rezaian is a well-respected journalist and because of the work he does, it is common to gain information and then publish stories. However, at no time has her client given anyone indirect or direct access to classified information.
Martin Baron, the editor of The Washington Post called the charges against Rezaian scurrilous and absurd. He feels the fact that Iran is claiming Rezaian’s work as a freelance reporter moving on to being a correspondent for The Post’s Tehran, somehow equated to what they are calling espionage.
Baron reached out to plea with the Iranian judiciary and the judge overseeing the case to release both Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist who was arrested alongside her husband but allowed to leave jail after posting bail.
Baron also said that the charges against both Rezaian and his wife are fabricated and that the entire world will be watching to see what the outcome will be. Judge Abolghassem Salavati who is overseeing the case had been drawn out internationally for his harsh sentences.
Currently, no trial date for Rezaian has been set but family members believe it will be very soon. The problem is that a Revolutionary Court branch that is reviewing the case has many other cases to deal with as well.
From a statement from Gholam Hossein Esmaili, former chief of Evin Prison and head of Tehran’s province justice department said that when the proper time has come an appropriate verdict will be handed down.