Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Sentenced in Iran Espionage Case

Details of verdict unknown for newspaper’s Iran bureau chief who’s been imprisoned on espionage charges for over a year

Washington Post Journalist Jason Rezaian

A verdict has been reached in the trial of Washington Post Iran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, Iranian officials announced Sunday.

The sentence handed down in the espionage case against the Post’s Iran bureau chief is unknown at this time, the semiofficial Iranian Students’ News Agency said quoting a judiciary spokesman.

“This person has been sentenced, but I don’t know the details of the verdict,” judiciary spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, said, ISNA reported. The ruling may be appealed by Rezaian over the next 20 days.

The paper’s editor, Marty Baron, acknowledged being aware of the verdict but said “it is not clear whether this ruling includes a verdict or a sentence — or even whether its contents have been communicated to Jason or his lawyer.”

Baron added, “This vague and puzzling statement by the government of Iran only adds to the injustice that has surrounded Jason’s case since his arrest 15 months ago. Jason is a victim — arrested without cause, held for months in isolation, without access to a lawyer, subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse.”

Baron concluded that the only thing that’s clear is Rezaian’s innocence. “If indeed a ruling has been issued and is now being reviewed, this puts the onus on Iran’s senior leaders to demonstrate the fairness and justice that could only lead to Jason’s exoneration and release.”

A spokesman for the State Department said it is “monitoring the situation closely, and we continue to call for all charges against Jason to be dropped and for him to be immediately released.”

On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, Washington Post foreign editor Doug Jehl called Rezaian’s case a “sham.”

“This remains a mystery to us. But I think it does underscore that what we’re seeing unfolding here is a sham,” Jehl told Brian Stelter. “For Iran to say that there’s been a verdict but it’s not final simply suggests again that this is not a matter for the courts. It’s a matter that’s being decided in the political spheres in Iran.”

Rezaian has been imprisoned in Iran for 15 months on charges of espionage and propaganda. The Washington Post has vehemently denounced the charges and filed a petition with the United Nations for his immediate release in July.

At that time, publisher Frederick J. Ryan, Jr  railed against the “physical mistreatment and psychological abuse” his journalist was enduring.

“Jason is being deprived of his basic human rights, and we are asking the UN Working Group to render an opinion to Iran and the international community that Jason’s detention is unlawful and that he should be released immediately,” he concluded.

In September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he’d try to facilitate the release of Rezaian and two other Americans if the U.S. released Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. as a result of violating sanctions.