Letter marks one year behind bars for Jason Rezaian
New York, July 20, 2015–Thirty-four members of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ board of directors today sent a letter urging the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, to intervene in the case of jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The letter comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Rezaian’s arrest on July 22, 2014.
Rezaian has been jailed longer than any other international reporter in Iran, and is the U.S. correspondent longest held by any foreign government since CPJ began tracking imprisonments. He has been charged with espionage, “collaborating with hostile governments,” “propaganda against the establishment,” and allegations that he gathered information “about internal and foreign policy,” the Post reported . His case file presents no evidence to justify the charges, the Post reported, citing Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan.
All court sessions in Rezaian’s case have been conducted behind closed doors. The journalist is being held in the notorious Evin Prison, where his health has suffered. He spent the first months in solitary confinement, the Post reported.
Since his arrest, there has been a worldwide response to Rezaian’s imprisonment, including a petition for his release that has garnered nearly half a million signatures. He is featured in CPJ’s Press Uncuffed campaign.
Since 2009, Iran has consistently been one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists. According to CPJ’s most recent annual prison census, Iran is holding 30 journalists in jail.
The letter was signed by members of CPJ’s board of directors and advisory board, and copied to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as President Hassan Rouhani.