Iran Issues Verdict in Espionage Trial Against U.S. Reporter Jason Rezaian

by Reuters /  / Updated 

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DUBAI — Iran has issued a verdict in the espionage trial of Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian, the judiciary said on Sunday without giving details, two months after the final hearing.

California-born Rezaian, the Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, was arrested in July 2014 and spent several months in jail before his trial. The final hearing was on Aug. 10.

Image: Jason Rezaian in 2013
Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.The Washington Post / Reuters, file

"The ruling on this case has been issued. There is still the possibility of this ruling being appealed, and it is not final," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said in a televised news conference.

He did not say whether Rezaian had been convicted or acquitted, nor give any further details.

Iran has accused Rezaian, 39, of collecting confidential information and handing it to hostile governments, writing a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and acting against national security.

Rezaian’s brother, Jason Rezaian, said in a statement Sunday that the announcement of a verdict “follows an unconscionable pattern by Iranian authorities of silence, obfuscation, delay and a total lack of adherence to international law, as well as Iranian law.”

He said the “vague statement on a purported verdict” was not a surprise because the Iranian government has never provided proof of the charges brought against Rezaian.

“Jason was simply a journalist doing his job and following all the rules when he was wrongly arrested and imprisoned in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison,” the statement said. “We remain hopeful that Jason will soon be released and reunited with this family.”

The Post has described the proceedings against its reporter as a "sham trial."

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani last month hinted at the possibility of releasing Rezaian in exchange for Iranian prisoners in the United States, but officials have downplayed the possibility of any such swap.

The Washington Post said Sunday the ruling was "vague and puzzling", and it was not clear whether it included a verdict and sentence.

"We have no further information at this time and it is not clear whether this ruling includes a verdict or a sentence — or even whether its contents have been communicated to Jason or his lawyer," Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement.

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