As Iran, the United States and other world powers announced the parameters of a nuclear deal, the family of detained Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian called on Iranian officials to end the judicial delay that has left him in prison for eight months.
“The U.S. Government and our negotiating partners have claimed Iran can uphold an international agreement,” Rezaian’s brother Ali Rezaian said in a statement Thursday. “Though in Jason’s case, for 254 days, Iran has been unable to enforce their own laws or abide by their existing international human rights commitments.”
Jason Rezaian has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison for more than eight months, longer than any American journalist before him. He has not met with an attorney, and little has been made known about the charges leveled against him.
“All Iran has said is that ‘It’s complicated,'” the family statement reads. “Now that a framework agreement has been announced, things should be less ‘complicated.'”
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Mohammed Javad Zarif has previously said he personally knows Rezaian and called him “a fair reporter. So I had hoped all along that his detention would be short.” But Zarif also said Rezaian is facing charges by the judiciary as an Iranian citizen.
With a deal in hand after months of hard-fought negotiations, Ali Rezaian said Iranian leadership should “review the evidence their underlings claim to have against Jason. If they do, we are certain they will see that Jason has done no harm to Iran. Otherwise, they should ensure the judiciary stop their inhumane delays, make public their case against Jason and let the World see why they have stolen 8 months of Jason’s life.”
The 38-year-old American-born dual national was arrested on July 22, 2014, with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian reporter who was eventually released on bail. Jason Rezaian was allowed to briefly receive medical treatment in February for infections.
On Thursday, Martin Barton, executive editor of The Post, said in a statement that “Iran should have ended this cruel and unconscionable charade months ago, and with the talks now adjourned, there can be no excuse for further delay. It is long past time for Iran’s leaders to demonstrate fairness and a commitment to abide by Iran’s own rules, which could only result in Jason’s immediate release.”
Rezaian’s case has gained international attention and support. More than 365,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for his release.
On the occasion of the Persian new year Nowruz, President Obama last month said that Rezaian has been “unjustly held in Iran for nearly eight months on vague charges.”
“It is especially painful that on a holiday centered on ridding one’s self of the difficulties of the past year, Jason’s mother and family will continue to carry the heavy burden of concern regarding Jason’s health and well-being into the new year,” Obama said.
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