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Lawyer: Post Reporter's Trial Resumes Monday in Iran

FILE - Jason Rezaian, right, an Iranian-American correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National, attend a presidential campaign of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran.

Detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian will be back in an Iranian court Monday for what likely will be the last hearing in his closed-door espionage trial, his lawyer said Saturday.

"They told me that this will be the last hearing, but I cannot be 100 percent sure because there are always unexpected matters," Rezaian's lawyer Leila Ahsan told the French news agency AFP.

Rezaian, a 39-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, who until his arrest was working as the U.S. newspaper's Tehran correspondent, has been in prison in the Iranian capital for more than a year.

Rezaian's defense

Ahsan told The Associated Press that Monday's court session will be devoted to her defense of Rezaian.

"Almost certainly, Monday will be my client's final court hearing unless something unpredictable happens," Ahsan said. "I've already prepared a comprehensive bill of defense to hand over to the judge. I'll also (speak) in the courtroom to prove that Rezaian is innocent."

Ahsan did not elaborate on her defense strategy, though she said that under Iran's new penal code, Rezaian should have been freed on July 22, the anniversary of his detention.

"Unfortunately, it has not happened yet," she said.

His trial, on charges of "espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic republic," started in May.

Rezaian, his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists were detained along with him on July 22, 2014, in Tehran. All were later released except Rezaian.

Salehi, a journalist for The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, reportedly has been banned from leaving Iran.

According to his family, Rezaian's health has been deteriorating. He needs to receive medication to combat high blood pressure.

National security

Monday's hearing at a Revolutionary Court, which usually presides over political cases or those related to national security, will be the fourth in the case.

Once the judge has delivered the verdict, "the case should go before the Court of Appeal," she said, without giving details but suggesting the case could have secondary proceedings.

Rezaian reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted in Tehran's Revolutionary Court on charges that include espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

The journalist, his family and Washington Post executives categorically deny the accusations.

The Post, the U.S. government and press freedom organizations have criticized his trial.

Rezaian's detention, and those of three other Americans in Iran, had been mentioned by U.S. officials as world powers and Iran reached a deal over its contested nuclear program. However, all remain held.

Material for this report came from AP and AFP.