Jason Rezaian, a reporter for the Washington Post, has been sentenced to an unspecified prison term by an Iranian court. This information was released by a state judiciary spokesperson Nov. 22. The case has been delicate matter in the consistently shaky relationship between the U.S. and Iran.
According to a report from the IRNA, judicial spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said at a weekly press conference in Tehran, “Serving a jail term is in Jason Rezaian’s sentence but I cannot give details.”
John Kirby, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said he was aware of the report, but could not make any statement confirming it. Many in Washington have been left wondering why Iranian courts haven’t released further details about the sentence.
The 39-year-old Rezaian was convicted in October for charges including espionage.
Douglas Jehl, foreign editor for the Washington Post, said his publication had seen the report but had no further information. Jehl told Reuters that the sentencing would push the issue closer towards a final resolution at the hands of the Iranian judiciary.
“It’s these senior leaders who have the power to pardon, the power to overturn a verdict, the power to make things right,” Jehl said.
Jason’s brother, Ali Rezaian, has spoken out against the lack of transparency in these proceedings.
“Although we cannot confirm the validity of these reports, we do know that the Iranian judicial process around Jason’s case has been profoundly flawed since the outset,” said Ali.
Jason Rezaian holds dual Iranian and U.S. citizenship, and was working as the Post’s Tehran bureau chief. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for his release, saying the case was centered on “bogus espionage charges”.
Rezaian was arrested in July 2014 along with his wife, also a journalist, and two unnamed photo-journalists. He is the only one of the four yet to be released.
The whole course of his imprisonment has been seen by some as backlash from Iran against various progressive blemishes in the country’s totalitarian way of life.
Keywan Karimi, a native filmmaker, was sentenced to six years in jail and 223 lashes in October for his documentary “Writing on the City”, which focused on political graffiti from the Islamic Revolution in 1979, to the country’s election 2009. Karimi is currently free pending appeal.
Anti-American sentiment remains strong in both Iran’s government and culture. On Nov. 4, demonstrators burned U.S. and Israeli flags outside of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran. This marked the 36th anniversary of the start of the 1979 hostage crisis.
[IRNA] [breakingnews.com] [Reuters] [BBC] [Photo courtesy Rouzbeh Fouladi/NurPhoto/REX Shutterstock]