December 8, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Jason Rezaian, an Iranian American journalist who has been detained in Iran since July 2014, is reported to have been officially charged by a Tehran court for crimes that are still unknown.
The charges come two days after news reached the Western media that Rezaian’s detention would be extended. According to the Human Rights Watch, Rezaian was informed on November 18th by Iranian officials that his pretrial detention had been extended for two months to continue the investigation against him. Under Iranian law, judges may grant the authority for officials to indefinitely hold suspects and deny them access to an attorney.
Rezaian is the Washington Post’s correspondent in Iran. He has been based in Iran since 2008 and was accredited by the Iranian government to work for the Washington Post since 2012.
On July 24th, the Washington Post reported that Rezaian had been detained along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi for undetermined reasons. Salehi was released on bail in October.
“If authorities had evidence that Rezaian had committed a real crime, they should have charged him shortly after his arrest,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “At this point they should simply release him.”
U.S. officials have reiterated their request for the release of Rezaian and other American citizens detained in Iran, including U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. Iranian Americans Amir Hekmati and Pastor Saeed Abedini continue to be detained in Iran.
As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to immunity from harassment and unlawful detention when traveling outside the United States, including Iran. PAAIA will continue to urge the United States to make the repatriation of Jason Rezaian and all Americans who are unjustly being detained in Iran a priority.