Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter jailed in Iran, faced his fourth and possibly final hearing on Monday in another closed-door session at the Revolutionary Court.
Leila Ahsan, Rezaian’s lawyer, said the fourth session was the final one. But Iranian news sources said it was up to the judge whether to hold further hearings. The New York Times in its reporting of Monday’s proceedings noted that the judge in the case, Abolqasem Salavati, is “notably hard-line.”
Rezaian, who holds dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, has been detained in Iran for more than a year. The California native, who is accused of spying, was arrested in July 2014 along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for The National, a newspaper in Abu Dhabi. Salehi was released on bail. Rezaian’s trial began in May, and he faces 20 years in prison.
Human-rights and press-freedom groups have criticized the trial. Martin Baron, the Post’s executive editor, in a statement Monday called the proceedings a “sham,” and noted even Rezaian’s lawyer was uncertain about what might happen next. Here’s more from his statement:
The process has been anything but transparent and just, and that pattern persists. The only thing that is clear is Jason’s innocence. He is a dedicated, law-abiding journalist and a good man who has been targeted with nonsensical, unsupportable, and entirely baseless allegations of espionage and other offenses. He has been made to suffer physically and psychologically, and for that there is no excuse. His arrest, imprisonment, and now this sham trial contradict every standard required for the fair administration of justice, and they violate international law, Iran’s own laws, and fundamental human decency.
Now is the time for Iran’s senior leaders to end this ‘judicial process,’ with its sick brew of farce and tragedy. Jason and his wife, Yeganeh, who has been out on bail, deserve to be exonerated and to be given back their freedom and lives.
There are at least two other Iranian Americans who have been detained in Iran while visiting Iran. Their fate has been discussed by officials from both countries, but their release was not a condition of the deal the U.S. and other world powers struck last month with Iran over its nuclear program.