Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Mohammed Javad Larijani, head of the Iranian judiciary’s human rights council. This article has been updated to note that information about Rezaian’s detention comes from several sources.
Iran’s detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been extended for up to an additional 60 days, according to his family.
Hopes that Rezaian, who has been held without charge at Tehran’s Evin prison for 134 days, might be released soon were bolstered at the end of October, when a senior Iranian official said in an interview that possible charges under review by the judiciary might be dismissed.
Instead, his family said, Rezaian was shown a document last week signed by the judge in charge of his case that authorized the extension. The document, dated Nov. 18, said the investigation against him was ongoing.
According to Human Rights Watch, detaining authorities can hold a suspect indefinitely and deny him access to counsel with the approval of a judge.
Communication with Rezaian has been primarily through his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who has been allowed to visit him once or twice a week. Salehi, who is also a journalist, was arrested with him on July 22, the day after his press credentials were renewed by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. She was released in early October.
Rezaian is a dual American and Iranian national, but Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. Although his family in the United States has retained a lawyer, he has not been allowed to meet with Rezaian.
Mohammed Javad Larijani, head of the human rights council of Iran’s judiciary, said in a New York Times interview in Geneva more than a month ago that the state security service had prepared charges against the Post’s Tehran bureau chief revolving around activities “entering the area of the security of the state.” He said court proceedings might occur “soon,” when he hoped that the charges would be dismissed.
Ali Rezaian, Jason Rezaian’s brother, said in a telephone interview Thursday that “there seems to be a disconnect” between elements of the Iranian government. “Clearly, this isn’t something that we wanted,” he said.
His brother has now been held “longer than any other credentialed Western journalist in the past,” Ali Rezaian said. “There have not been any charges against him, and there is no reason to think he is guilty of anything.”
“We have never had a clear view of why Jason is being held, how long he would be held, what might lead to his release, or when. We still don’t,” said Post Executive Editor Martin Baron. “The key thing to remember is that he should never have been arrested and imprisoned in the first place, and he should be released immediately. There was no legitimate reason for him to be held without charges or explanation for more than four months. We again urge the Iranian authorities to give him his freedom and allow him to reunite with his family.”
Ali Rezaian said his family has become increasingly worried about his brother’s health, including persistent infections in his eye and groin, and difficulty walking. “His depression is getting much worse,” Ali Rezaian said, “just because it’s been so long. This is really unprecedented, what they’re doing.”