The Washington Post has filed an urgent action petition with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention asserting numerous violations of international law and seeking the immediate release of Post Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian.
Rezaian was arrested on July 22, 2014 and has been detained in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for the last year. For months, Rezaian was held without formal charges and without access to counsel. He has been subjected to harsh interrogation and months of solitary confinement.
Washington Post Publisher Frederick J. Ryan, Jr. said, “We continue to call on Iran for Jason’s immediate release, as he is completely innocent of any crime. For the past year, Jason has endured extensive physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, and we are deeply concerned for his welfare. Jason is being deprived of his basic human rights, and we are asking the U.N. Working Group to render an opinion to Iran and the international community that Jason’s detention is unlawful and that he should be released immediately.”
The petition, which was announced during a press conference this morning (see video) at the National Press Club, asserts that Rezaian’s detention is arbitrary and unlawful under both Iranian and international law, and includes a formal request for “Urgent Action” by the Working Group, a step which is available in cases where continued detention may constitute a serious danger to an individual’s health or safety.
Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron spoke at the press conference and stated, “Every aspect of this case — his incarceration, his trial, the conditions of his imprisonment — has been a disgraceful violation of human rights. And it violates common decency.”
The UNWGAD is a United Nations entity, composed of five independent experts, that focuses on the problem of unlawful detentions. It reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council and is the only non-treaty-based, international mechanism with a mandate to consider individual complaints against States.
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