MS Risk Blog

US Reporter “Convicted” in Iran over Spying

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Iran’s judiciary has announced that a verdict has been issued in the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian on charges that include espionage.

While officials have not given the details of the judgement, they hinted at a conviction. Appearing on state television late on Sunday, judiciary spokesman Gholamhoseyn Mohseni-Ezhei stated, “he (Jason Rezaian) has been convicted, but I don’t have the verdict’s details,” adding that “the time for an appeal is not yet over. So the court waits and if it doesn’t receive an appeal…the verdict becomes final.” Mr Mohseni-Ezhei disclosed that Mr Rezaian and his lawyer were eligible to appeal the conviction with twenty days.

Jason Rezaian, 39, has been detained in Iran for more than a year on charges, which the Post has dismissed as absurd. Washington Post foreign editor, Douglas Jehl, has called the ruling “vague” and stated that it was unclear if Mr Rezaian had been sentenced.” He disclosed that “we’ve now heard from the Iranian government today’s (Sunday) announcement that a verdict has been issued in Jason’s case, but that its not final and that its subject to appeal…That’s really all we know, and unfortunately it reflects a continued pattern of mystery, opacity and gamesmanship surrounding the way Iran has handled this case…The only thing that’s been clear from the beginning is Jason’s innocence. Everything else has been under a real shadow of darkness.”

Mr Rezaian faces between 10 to 20 years in prison. He, along with his wife, who is also a journalist, and two photojournalists, were arrested in July 2014 in Iran. However Mr Rezaian was the only one of the group not to be released. Mr Rezaian, who was the Post’s Tehran bureau chief since 2012, was charged with espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic Republic. He was tired in four hearing behind closed doors, with the last one occurred in August. He is a dual Iranian-American citizen.

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