U.N. human rights experts are calling on Iran to immediately release a Washington Post reporter who has been detained for more than a year on charges including espionage. A verdict on Jason Rezaian's case could come as early as next week.
“The arrest, detention and secret trial of Mr. Rezaian violate his rights and intimidate all those working in the media in Iran,” said the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, in a statement Friday.
“His continued detention violates basic rules that not only aim to protect journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and others but to guarantee everyone’s right to information,” he said.
Kaye said Rezaian's solitary confinement and full-day interrogation sessions have "caused significant physical and psychological strain."
Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said the statement "comes at a critical moment" and upholds the newspaper's stance that Iran's conduct in the case has been illegal. He called the trial a "sham."
Rezaian, 39, was detained on July 22, 2014, in Tehran along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists. All were later released except Rezaian, who the Post said faces up to 10-20 years in prison if convicted.
Rezaian was born and spent most of his life in the United States, and holds American and Iranian citizenship. Iran does not recognize dual nationalities for its citizens.