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WaPo Editor: 'Very Murky' Conviction for Our Man in Iran

 

By    |   Monday, 12 Oct 2015 02:40 PM

The conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian — jailed in Iran for 15 months on charges including espionage — is a legal decision so vague it's hard to figure out, the newspaper's foreign editor Douglas Jehl tells Newsmax TV.

"It's very murky of course because while Iran has said that Jason has been convicted, they haven't done so officially," Jehl said Monday to John Bachman on Newsmax Now.

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"Today they, in fact, turned away Jason's wife, his mother, and his attorney from the court, telling them that they couldn't give them any official information."

"But we know under Iranian law that anyone convicted of a crime has 20 days to appeal that verdict and we're working with Jason's lawyers in Iran to move very quickly toward making that kind of appeal as soon as the outcome has been communicated to Jason and his attorney."

Rezaian, The Post's Tehran bureau chief, was detained with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists on July 22, 2014. All were later released except Rezaian.

He and The Post have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

"It's really outrageous, of course. We've been used to the risk that reporters bear when they cover wars or get caught up in terrorist attacks," Jehl said.

"The fact that reporters like Jason have now become victims of governments prosecuting them for doing nothing more than acting as journalists is really appalling."

Jehl said Rezaian, who was convicted during a close-door trial, is locked away in "perhaps the most notorious" prison in Iran.

"He's been isolated for most of that time, a lot of that time in solitary confinement, and it's taken a real physical and psychological toll on him," he said.

"While he gets some periodic visits, we don't want him there another day longer and the fact that he's been made to suffer so grievously is just an outrage."

Last month, Rezaian's brother, Ali, told how Jason had lost 50 pounds and was suffering from untreated infections, respiratory issues and deteriorating mental health.
 
Jehl said it is important for the U.S. government to express outrage at the fate of Jason and three other Americans also languishing in Iranian prisons.

"It's vital that we hear more from the very highest levels of the U.S. government, direct it at Iran, [and] make it clear that this is a situation that cannot be allowed to stand," he said.

Jehl also said a prisoner exchange remains a possibility.

"It was interesting to hear President [Hassan] Rouhani and other officials before him say very clearly that they'd be willing to take steps toward freeing Jason and other Americans if the United States would take steps to free Iranians who have been held in American custody," he said.

"That's an unsavory prospect, but of course exchanging prisoners is something that governments do all the time."

In addition to Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson and Pastor Saeed Abedini are also behind bars in Iran on various charges.

Supporters of the imprisoned Americans have said the United States should not have agreed to the Iran nuclear deal with securing their release first.

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The conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian - jailed in Iran for 15 months on charges including espionage - is a legal decision so vague it's hard to figure out, the newspaper's foreign editor Douglas Jehl tells Newsmax TV.
douglas jehl, jason rezaian, iran, reporter
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2015-40-12
Monday, 12 Oct 2015 02:40 PM
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