Iranian verdict in US reporter's trial 'within a week'

Verdict expected to be issued in case in which Washington Post's Jason Rezaian is accused of spying on Iran.

    The verdict in Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian's trial for allegedly spying on Iran will be announced "within a week", his lawyer told AFP news agency as his trial ended.

    Leila Ahsan on Monday said she presented the reporter's defence in Tehran and that there would be no further hearings unless an appeal is lodged when the judgment is announced.

    "The secret court proceedings that began on May 25 have been a farce," she said.

    Earlier Ahsan said she was told that Monday's trial hearing - the fourth in the case - would be the last but she could not "be 100 percent sure".

    The 39-year-old Iranian American has been in custody for more than a year and his trial has been held behind closed doors. His family and employer have denounced the proceedings as a sham.

    On Sunday, a top judicial official appeared to cast doubt on when the trial would end.

    "The court decides which hearing will be the last one," said Gholam Hossein Esmaili, chief of Tehran's justice department. 

    "Until then one cannot judge about it."

    [Iran] has imprisoned an innocent journalist for more than a year and subjected him to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse.

    Martin Baron, Washington Post executive editor

    Rezaian's trial, on charges of "espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic republic", started in May.

    The case has been heard by a Revolutionary Court, which usually presides over political cases or those related to national security. 

    Rezaian, the Post's Tehran correspondent, was arrested with his wife Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, at their home in Tehran on July 22, 2014.

    Salehi and a photographer who was arrested on the same day were released on bail after almost three months in custody.

    Rezaian's wife has not worked since and she is barred from discussing the case.

    Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron on Saturday criticised the 
    trial and the conditions of Rezaian's incarceration. "Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this travesty of a case," he
    said.

    "It has imprisoned an innocent journalist for more than a year and subjected him to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse. 

    "The secret court proceedings that began on May 25 have been a farce."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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