The family of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been detained in Iran for more than half a year, issued the following statement Sunday in response to the naming of Judge Abolghassem Salavati to hear the case in Revolutionary Court:

February 1, 2015

We can confirm the recent reports that Judge Salavati has been assigned to Jason and Yeganeh’s case in Iran’s Revolutionary Court.  We find it very disturbing that the judiciary would select a judge to oversee the case who has been sanctioned by (and barred from entering) the European Union due to what it calls ‘gross human rights violations.’

Jason has dedicated the past decade of his life to informing the world of the true nature of Iran, the Iranian people, and their culture. In stark contrast, the Iranian government has spent the past six months displaying to the world a disregard for its own laws and the international human rights agreements that it has pledged to follow.

What Iran expects to gain from the prolonged and unjust detention of Jason is unclear to us.  What is evident to us, though, is that this “trial” has nothing to do with Jason or Yeganeh’s actual actions, and may simply be a pretense to distract the world from some other motive the government may have.

We remain hopeful that the proper authorities will ensure that the court will quickly convene and that the judge, despite his reputation, will even more quickly discover no basis for a finding other than “not guilty” and will order Jason released immediately.