Tags: Iran | Jason Rezaian | Iran Hostages | Washington Post

WaPo Petitions UN to Help Free Imprisoned Journalist

WaPo Petitions UN to Help Free Imprisoned Journalist

By    |   Wednesday, 22 July 2015 01:21 PM

The Washington Post has appealed to the United Nations in its bid to have its Iran correspondent freed from an Iranian prison.

Jason Rezaian was abruptly arrested last July and has since been charged with espionage and three other related crimes. The Post has maintained its reporter is innocent, and the Committee to Protect Journalists has blasted the Iranian government and has fought for Rezaian's release.

On Wednesday, the Post petitioned the U.N. to help free Rezaian, who is Iranian-American and whose wife is Iranian.

"For the past several months he has been subjected to a sham trial on trumped-up charges of espionage and other supposed offenses," Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said during a news conference announcing the petition. "In year's time, no evidence has been produced of espionage or any other offense. It is clear, as it has been all along, that Jason did nothing wrong. All he did was to work diligently and fairly as a journalist."

The Post filed a 40-page petition that seeks the U.N.'s help in the case. Rezaian has appeared in an Iranian court several times, and his lawyer said this week the next court hearing could be the last one in the case before a verdict is announced.

"Still, it's not clear how long it will take for the court to issue a verdict on the case after the last session," Leila Ahsan said.

In its petition, the Post claims Rezaian has been subjected to "abusive treatment."

"As set forth in the attached Petition, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is arbitrarily depriving Jason Rezaian of his liberty and subjecting him to abusive treatment in violation of international and Iranian law," the petition states.

"As of the date of this Petition, Rezaian has been imprisoned for a full year. Pursuant to Article 242 of Iran's Criminal Code of Procedure for Public and Revolutionary Courts, the detention of an accused shall not exceed the minimum duration of the legal punishment for the alleged crime, and detention shall not exceed one year for any crime, with the exception of death-penalty offenses, which are not alleged here. Here, Rezaian's detention violates both principles of Iranian law, as it exceeds both one year and the minimum legal punishment for the crimes alleged.

"In addition, Rezaian has suffered unlawful treatment during his year-long incarceration. He is being held at Evin Prison in Tehran, a facility identified by this Working Group and other UN representatives as a location associated with widespread abuse of detainees and other severe human rights violations. Political prisoners at Evin Prison are routinely forced to endure extensive physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, including relentlessly abusive interrogation tactics, prolonged periods of solitary confinement, and other cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment."

The petition goes on to say Rezaian "has not been spared such treatment," and then lists several medical ailments he has suffered from during his 365 days behind bars.

"Rezaian has also been deprived of his most basic fundamental rights and freedoms," the petition reads. "He has been deprived of due process and denied his rights to counsel of his choosing and to consular visitation. Nearly five months of detention passed before Rezaian was charged with any crime, and to this day, the Government of Iran has failed to publicly disclose the charges against him."

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The Washington Post has appealed to the United Nations in its bid to have its Iran correspondent freed from an Iranian prison.
Jason Rezaian, Iran Hostages, Washington Post
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 01:21 PM
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