On Tuesday, the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been imprisoned for nearly 10 months in Iran on vaguely defined charges, started in Tehran.
What’s Known About Rezaian’s Case
According to Iran’s official news agency IRNA, Rezaian is accused of committing "espionage for the hostile government of the United States" and spreading anti-Iranian propaganda. Those charges had not been made public until last month, after Rezaian had already spent nine months in prison.
The 39-year-old correspondent was detained in late July of last year, along with his wife and two photojournalists. The other three were later released, but Rezaian has remained in Evin Prison, one of the country’s most notoriously inhumane facilities, and reportedly kept in isolation and denied medical treatment.
Thomas Erdbrink of The New York Times detailed the evidence against Rezaian, none of which seems to reflect any real crime:
The Iranian government is presenting two pieces of evidence of espionage, Mr. Rezaian’s brother, Ali Rezaian, said: an American visa application for Yeganeh Salehi, Jason Rezaian’s wife, an Iranian citizen and a journalist, and a form letter sent by Mr. Rezaian to Barack Obama’s 2008 White House transition team offering help to improve relations between Iran and the United States.
Rezaian, who grew up in California and holds dual American-Iranian citizenship, was only allowed to meet with his lawyer once—she reportedly found out the date of the trial through Iranian media. If convicted, Rezaian could face up to 20 years in prison.