TEHRAN — An Iranian court could hand down a verdict in the trial of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent charged with espionage, within a week, his lawyer told reporters on Monday, as a fourth and possibly final hearing in the case was held in Tehran.
The lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told reporters that “this was the final hearing” and said that Iranian law called for a verdict to be issued by next Monday. The Post’s top editor, Martin Baron, said in a statement on Monday that the trial had ended.
The Mizan News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, was less definitive, quoting “a knowledgeable source” as saying that Mr. Rezaian, who has been detained in Iran for more than a year, had given his final defense but that it would be up to the judge to decide whether more hearings were necessary.
As in previous hearings, the proceedings were held behind closed doors and presided over by Abolqasem Salavati, a notably hard-line judge. Both Mr. Rezaian’s mother, Mary, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were denied entry to the courtroom.
Outside the courthouse, Ms. Rezaian told reporters that her son was an ordinary journalist, working “just like others” in Iran. She said the trial had turned into a political issue and challenged Iran’s judiciary to be transparent.
“If the judiciary is really independent, let them organize a public trial and prove whether my son has done anything wrong,” she said, while being comforted by Ms. Salehi. “They cannot prove that he is a spy as there is no evidence.”
The case highlights the dangers for Iranian-Americans holding dual nationality, like Mr. Rezaian, who travel to Iran. Mr. Rezaian’s detention, and that of other American dual citizens in Iran, has fanned tensions with the United States. The cases have taken on added resonance after an international agreement last month over Iran’s nuclear program.
“After just four secret hearings in 10 weeks, the sham trial of The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian has ended in Tehran, but it remains unclear even to Jason’s lawyer what might happen next,” Mr. Baron, The Post’s executive editor, said in a statement. “No verdict was announced, Iran’s Revolutionary Court has offered no official indication of when such an announcement might come.”
Jason Rezaian in Tehran in 2013.
Vahid Salemi / Associated Press
“The process has been anything but transparent and just, and that pattern persists. The only thing that is clear is Jason’s innocence,” Mr. Baron wrote.
“He has been made to suffer physically and psychologically, and for that there is no excuse,” he added.
Mr. Baron called on senior leaders in Iran to resolve the matter, which he called a “sick brew of farce and tragedy.”
Last month, The Post sought intervention by a United Nations human rights panel in the case.
Mr. Rezaian, 39, who is from California, has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He and his wife were arrested there on July 22, 2014. Ms. Salehi was later released.
Mr. Rezaian faces up to 20 years in jail, but he would be able to appeal.
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(via NY Times)