A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for more than six months will stand trial “soon,” Iran’s official news agency reported Wednesday, but the charges against him remain unknown.
The report by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency gave no additional information about Iran’s allegations against Jason Rezaian, The Post’s bureau chief in Tehran.
Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen, also has not had access to legal counsel since his detention in late July.
“We have yet to hear any accounting of any charges against Jason, who after six months in custody has still not been provided access to a lawyer,” said a statement from Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor. “It is appalling and outrageous that Jason remains behind bars. A fair and just approach by Iran’s judiciary could only result in his immediate release.”
The IRNA report quoted Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, a senior judicial official, as saying Rezaian “will be tried soon,” but no further timetable was mentioned. Nor have authorities elaborated on a vague statement that Rezaian has been charged with unspecified activities outside the bounds of journalism.
Earlier this month, Rezaian’s case was referred to Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which handles most sensitive issues such as security-related proceedings.
Esmaeili said Rezaian “is in touch with his family and allowed” to have additional meetings with relatives, IRNA reported. But there was no mention of appeals for Rezaian to have contact with attorneys.
Rezaian’s brother, Ali Rezaian, said the family welcomes small steps toward transparency and improved treatment in his case.
“During our mother’s brief visit with Jason in December, he told her that he was no longer being held in solitary confinement,” Ali Rezaian said. “We do not know when this change took place, but he continues to be held in Evin prison in Tehran.”
Ali Rezaian added: “We welcome the additional transparency that appears to have developed since Jason’s case was referred to the court. We know that when any evidence is presented, it will prove what we already know — that Iran’s silence and disregard for their legal process these past six months is due to the weakness of their case, and Jason should be immediately set free.”
Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other U.S. officials have used talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program as a forum to also raise the subject of Rezaian and other Americans jailed in Iran.
Kerry said last month that he was distressed that Rezaian has not been allowed to speak to a lawyer hired by his family, which Kerry called a “clear violation of Iran’s own laws and international norms.”
Rezaian, his journalist wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists were detained July 22 in Tehran. All later were released except Rezaian.
William Branigin contributed to this report.