July 22, 2015

The saga of Jason Rezaian’s arrest, jailing and trial is now entering its second year. But if The Washington Post has its way, it won’t last much longer.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post announced it has filed a petition with a UN working group seeking the immediate release of its Tehran bureau chief, citing as justification “violations of international law.”

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.

In a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday, Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron reiterated his condemnation of Rezaian’s imprisonment and called on the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to help free his correspondent.

“Every aspect of this case — his incarceration, his trial, the conditions of his imprisonment — has been a disgraceful violation of human rights,” Baron said, according to a release. “And it violates common decency.”

Rezaian, the Tehran bureau chief for Washington Post, currently languishes in a cell in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in between hearings on charges of “espionage.” The proceeding is closed, but reports of the evidence against him have indicated that it would never pass muster in a U.S. courtroom. Rezaian has not been allowed to pick his attorney, and the trial has been repeatedly denounced by Baron.

Several news organizations marked the grim anniversary of Rezaian’s detainment this week. A wire report from the AFP summarized his captivity because no new information regarding his trial has surfaced since Monday, when Rezaian’s lawyer confirmed his next hearing would “almost certainly” conclude the trial. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna has been literally tallying the days since Rezaian was arrested, using each hash mark to add contours to a haggard depiction of his colleague.

On “Today,” this morning, Rezaian’s brother Ali Rezaian spoke with NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and emphasized the importance of freeing his brother. In his interview, Ali Rezaian took note of Iran’s push to join “a broader community of nations,” a desire evinced by its recent nuclear accord with several world powers.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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