Iran sen­tences US re­porter to prison

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

TEHRAN: Iran yes­ter­day con­firmed that it had sen­tenced Ira­nian-Amer­i­can Wash­ing­ton Post re­porter Ja­son Reza­ian to an un­spec­i­fied prison term fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion last month on charges in­clud­ing es­pi­onage. “The ver­dict in­cludes a prison term,” ju­di­ciary spokesman Gho­lamhos­sein Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as say­ing by the of­fi­cial IRNA news agency. He did not spec­ify the length of the sen­tence. Reza­ian has been in jail in Iran for more than a year and had stood trial on charges of es­pi­onage along with other crimes against na­tional se­cu­rity - charges thought to carry a max­i­mum penalty of 20 years in prison.

“The ver­dict for Ja­son Reza­ian has been is­sued but not of­fi­cially com­mu­ni­cated” to his lawyer, said Mohseni Ejeie. “I can­not an­nounce the de­tails.” Reza­ian’s em­ployer said it had no more in­for­ma­tion about the re­port. “We’re aware of the re­ports in the Ira­nian me­dia, but have no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at this time,” the Post’s for­eign ed­i­tor Dou­glas Jehl said in a state­ment. “Ev­ery day that Ja­son is in prison is an in­jus­tice. He has done noth­ing wrong,” said Jehl. “Even af­ter keep­ing Ja­son in prison 488 days so far, Iran has pro­duced no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing. His trial and sen­tence are a sham, and he should be re­leased im­me­di­ately,” he added.

Reza­ian, 39, was ar­rested in July 2014 at his home in Tehran where he had been work­ing as a cor­re­spon­dent for the Amer­i­can news­pa­per for two years. He has ap­peared four times since May be­hind closed doors be­fore Tehran’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Court, a spe­cial tri­bunal that pre­sides over po­lit­i­cally charged cases or those re­lat­ing to na­tional se­cu­rity. Mohseni Ejeie an­nounced on Oct 11 that a ver­dict had been “is­sued” and that it could be ap­pealed af­ter be­ing de­liv­ered.

The Ira­nian au­thor­i­ties have since re­frained from for­mally an­nounc­ing the ver­dict. Wash­ing­ton Post ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor Martin Baron said in Oc­to­ber that the “vague and puz­zling” state­ment from the Ira­nian ju­di­ciary “only adds to the in­jus­tice” sur­round­ing the Reza­ian case. For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif said on Oc­to­ber 17 that Iran was try­ing to re­solve the case against the Ira­ni­anAmer­i­can re­porter “from a hu­man­i­tar­ian point of view”. But he stressed that the “charges are se­ri­ous”.

The treat­ment and trial of the jour­nal­ist has drawn con­dem­na­tion from his fam­ily, em­ployer, the US gov­ern­ment and press free­dom groups. The United States has re­peat­edly called for Reza­ian to be freed. Ear­lier this year, Iran urged the United States to release 19 Ira­ni­ans de­tained on sanc­tions-re­lated of­fences but ruled out any prisoner swap with Reza­ian. The jour­nal­ist was ar­rested along with his wife Ye­ganeh Salehi, and a pho­tog­ra­pher. Salehi and the pho­tog­ra­pher were later re­leased on bail. — AFP

Ja­son Reza­ian

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