Verdict Issued for Jason Rezaian of Washington Post, Iran Says

11014337w_r900x493 TEHRAN — An Iranian revolutionary court has handed down a verdict in the case of the detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, a judiciary official said Sunday, according to the semiofficial Tabnak website. The official, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, said a final verdict had been rendered, but he did not provide any further details. Mr. Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, said in a telephone interview that neither she nor members of Mr. Rezaian’s family had received the verdict. “We have no idea whether the verdict was handed to Jason himself,” she added. Mr. Rezaian, who was arrested in July 2014, has been detained for longer than the Americans held during the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis. An American of Iranian descent from Marin County, Calif., he was prosecuted on charges of espionage and other crimes in a closed trial, which ended nearly two months ago with no verdict announced. He has denied any wrongdoing. Mr. Rezaian is one of three Americans of Iranian descent imprisoned in Iran. According to Iranian law, a 20-day period for an appeal begins when a verdict is issued, but Ms. Ahsan said that she needed to see the verdict in order to make an appeal. “Now, I do not know what I am appealing against,” she said. In a statement, Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said it was “not clear whether this ruling includes a verdict or a sentence — or even whether its contents have been communicated to Jason or his lawyer.” “This vague and puzzling statement by the government of Iran only adds to the injustice that has surrounded Jason’s case since his arrest 15 months ago,” Mr. Baron said. “The only thing that has ever been clear about this case is Jason’s innocence. If a ruling has been issued and is now being reviewed, this puts the onus on Iran’s senior leaders to demonstrate the fairness and justice that could only lead to Jason’s exoneration and release.” Iranian judiciary officials have been evasive about Mr. Rezaian’s case since July, when a final court session was supposedly held. According to Iranian law, a verdict had to be issued within one week, but the judge, Abolghassem Salavati, fell silent, and the judiciary spokesman, Mr. Mohseni-Ejei, insisted that he had no information. Several Iranian leaders, including President Hassan Rouhani, have proposed a prisoner exchange for 19 Iranians who Mr. Rouhani claimed were in United States custody on charges of violating sanctions. That suggestion came after a year in which Iran emphasized that it did not accept Mr. Rezaian’s American nationality. The idea that Mr. Rezaian, regarded as an Iranian national by the Iranian government, could now be traded for other Iranians, or individuals that Tehran regards as Iranian citizens, has baffled observers. Source