After being detained for over a year, the Washington Post Reporter, Jason Rezaian, has been found guilty in an Iranian court. According to Fox News, he was convicted after having a closed-door trial. Rezaian has been treated unfairly since he was first arrested, and the result brought forth from his trial is an indication that the injustice continues.
According to the Guardian, on July 22, 2014, Jason and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested along with two other friends at their homes. Salehi is also a journalist for the National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. The two friends that were arrested with them are reported to be photojournalists. At that time, the charges that they were being held on were a mystery. Being held without charges being specified is seen as injustice, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in this 14-month journey. If that was not bad enough, the arrests were made at gun point, and it was two months before anyone heard from Rezaian or his wife.
Jason Rezaian’s wife and the two photojournalists were later released, but Jason was still being held, with very little access to his family or lawyers. It was March before Rezaian was given access to a lawyer, but not to one of his family’s choosing. Naturally, his family was seriously worried about the mental and physical health of Jason as time went by. Jason’s brother, Ali Rezaian, has been in the media to bring light to the injustice that his brother is currently faced with in Iran.
“There are times where I say, ‘You know, I didn’t sign up for this, it wasn’t my job.’ But I need to take care of my brother and I need to do whatever I can to bring him home.”
In April, Jason Rezaian’s lawyer, Leilah Ahsan, was finally presented with the list of charges for her client. Jason was being charged with espionage. The charges reported by Ashan are “collaborating with hostile governments” and “propaganda against the establishment.” The indictment claims that Rezaian collected information “about internal and foreign policy.” His lawyer, however, insisted that there was no evidence presented to justify the charges. She went on to express that the charges are related to the journalistic approach of Rezaian in his aim to share Iranian stories.
President Obama has spoken out on the injustice that Jason Rezaian and other Americans have been facing within Iran. Obama is determined that he, and the U.S. government, will not give up until Iran makes this right.
“We are not going to relent until we bring home our Americans who are unjustly detained in Iran.
“Journalist Jason Rezaian should be released. Pastor Saeed Abedini should be released. Amir Hekmati, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, should be released. Iran needs to help us find Robert Levinson.”
There have been suggestions by the Iran government that a prisoner exchange should be considered, that it could be a possible solution, among others. It, however, has not been made as an official statement, and has even been said that this is not their current aim. Could the injustice that Jason Rezaian is facing be to push such an outcome?
Even though news of a conviction has been received, there is still not enough information provided to know exactly where Jason Rezaian currently stands. No news of his sentencing has yet been received, but it is believed that he has yet to be sentenced. Rezaian’s attorney and family have 20 days to file for an appeal, and they have all intentions to do so to ensure that justice has been provided.
Ali Rezaian made a statement on behalf of his family after the news of his brother’s conviction reached him.
“Recent news reports have indicated that my brother, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, was found guilty of charges against him. Our mother, Jason’s wife, and Jason’s lawyer went to court today to seek clarification on any verdict in his case. In just the latest cruel step in the outrageous legal process that Jason has been subjected to since his incarceration over 14 months ago, they were provided no further information under the guise of a translator not being available. As a consequence, at this point we still have no clarity regarding Jason’s fate. Should the verdict be anything other than a full exoneration, we will appeal and seek the justice that Jason deserves.
“Today’s events are just the latest in what has long been a travesty of justice and an ongoing nightmare for Jason and our family. This follows an unconscionable pattern by Iranian authorities of silence, obfuscation, delay and a total lack of adherence to international and Iranian law. To this day, the Iranian government has provided no proof of the trumped up charges against Jason.
“While the verdict in his case remains unclear, there is much about Jason we know for certain. Jason was simply a journalist doing his job and following all the rules when he was wrongly arrested and imprisoned in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison. He is an innocent man that has been kept under harsh conditions to the detriment of his health and well-being for nearly 450 days. There is worldwide condemnation for the Iranian government’s unlawful detention of Jason and calls from across the globe for his immediate release. We remain hopeful that Jason will soon be released and reunited with our family. “
Even though his final fate is unknown, it is clear the Jason Rezaian has been dealt a grave injustice.
[Image by Alex Wong / Getty Images]