LONDON — A Washington Post reporter detained in Iran has been charged with “unknown crimes” by a Tehran judge, the journalist’s family said in a statement on Sunday.
Jason Rezaian, the newspaper’s bureau chief in Tehran since 2012, was arrested nearly five months ago. The Washington Post on Sunday first reported that the journalist - a dual U.S.-Iranian national — was charged with unspecified crimes in his first court appearance Saturday in Tehran.
In a statement provided to NBC News, Rezaian’s family said it was "deeply saddened to confirm that, after being held in solitary confinement without charge for 137 days, Jason Rezaian was charged with unknown crimes by the government of Iran."
“In its ongoing disregard of Iran's own laws, the Iranian judiciary has continued to deny Jason access to legal representation, denied his request for bail, and prevented access to review of his case file,” the statement added.
Rezaian’s case has prompted sharp criticism from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said early Sunday that the U.S. is "deeply disappointed and concerned" by reports that Rezaian has been charged and that a judge had denied him bail.
"We are also distressed by reports that Jason was not allowed access to an attorney, which is a clear violation of Iran's own laws and international norms," Kerry said in a statement, adding that the U.S. is also concerned that Rezaian is under physical and psychological "duress."
"Jason poses no threat to the Iranian government or to Iran's national security," Kerry said. "We call on the Iranian government to drop any and all charges against Jason and release him immediately.
Iran’s own human rights chief has weighed in on the case. In a recent interview, Mohammad Javad Larijan expressed hope to France 24 that the journalist’s case would be presented to court soon and that "this fiasco" would "end on good terms."