Iran says Washington Post's Jason Rezaian convicted

Judicial spokesman says the Iranian-American journalist accused of spying, can appeal undisclosed verdict.

    Iran's state TV reports that Jason Rezaian, a jailed Washington Post reporter, has been convicted.

    The Iranian-American, the newspaper's Tehran correspondent, reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison.

    Rezaian, the Post's Tehran bureau chief, had been accused of charges including espionage in a closed-door trial that has been widely criticised by the US government and press freedom organisations.

    In a broadcast late on Sunday, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, judiciary spokesman, said: "He has been convicted, but I don't have the verdict's details."

    He said Rezaian and his lawyer were eligible to appeal the conviction within 20 days.

    Martin Baron, Washington Post's executive editor, said in a statement: "The guilty verdict ... represents an outrageous injustice.

    Rezaian, seen here with his wife, was tried in four hearings behind closed doors, the last of which was held in August [EPA]

    "Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing. For now, no sentence has been announced.

    "We are working with Jason's family and Iranian counsel to pursue an immediate appeal, and we expect Jason's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, also to petition for Jason to be released on bail pending a final resolution of the case."

    Baron further said: "Any fair and just review would quickly overturn this unfounded verdict. Jason should be exonerated and released; he and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who has been out on bail, should both be granted, without delay, the full freedom that is their right."

    'Farce and tragedy'

    Rezaian was arrested in July 2014. He was tried in four hearings behind closed doors, the last of which was held in August.

    Ejehi was quoted on Sunday by the Iranian judiciary's official website as saying: "This verdict can be appealed.

    "The time for an appeal is not yet over. So the court waits, and if it doesn't receive an appeal ... the verdict becomes final."

    The Washington Post has called the trial a "sick brew of farce and tragedy" and said it "has been anything but transparent and just".

    Speaking to Al Jazeera earlier on Monday, Douglas Jehl, the newspaper's foreign editor, said he thought the court's decision was only "the first act".

    "It's increasingly clear that the final decision about how Jason's case will be handled will be made by political authorities - not by judicial ones," he said.

    "We've already heard from President Rouhani and others that Iran is willing to move Jason's case towards conclusion, if the United States will do something in return.

    "So I really think that the court process that's been going on for months and months and months, in some ways, is just the first act, that the final decision needs to be made by Iran's highest authorities."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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