IRAN: Immediately release journalist detained for over seven months on undisclosed charges.

PEN International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian if – as appears to be the case – he is held solely for his journalistic work. The journalist, who was detained in July 2014, and who has been held without trial ever since, has not been able to meet his defence lawyer and his health has deteriorated as a result of over five months’ detention in solitary confinement. Pending his release, PEN is also calling for Rezaian to be granted immediate access to his defence lawyer and for the charges against him to be clarified.

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Please send appeals:

  • Urging the Iranian authorities to release journalist Jason Rezaian immediately and unconditionally if, as appears, he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • In the meantime, calling for Jason Rezaian to be granted all necessary medical treatment and regular access to his family;
  • Urging that Jason Rezaian be granted immediate access to his defence lawyer and for the charges against him to be clarified;
  • Calling also for the immediate and unconditional release of all other writers and journalists currently similarly detained in Iran in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party

Appeals to

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street — End of Shahid
Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader [at] leader [dot] ir
Twitter: @khamenei_ir

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: media [at] rouhani [dot] ir
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible. You can find details of Iranian diplomatic missions here.

Background

Jason Rezaian, who holds both US and Iranian nationality, was arrested after Iranian security forces raided his home in July last year. His wife, Yeganeh Salehi, Iran correspondent for the UAE newspaper The National, was also arrested at the time, but released in October and warned not to work as a journalist again. Jason spent about five months in solitary confinement. He is currently being held in Evin prison, in Tehran where torture and other ill-treatment is frequently reported. (see previous PEN statement).

Rezaian was charged in December 2014, most likely with national security offences; however, the charges against him have not been made public. His trial is due to be heard by Branch 15 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court, which deals with national security crimes and has in the past tried many cases of foreign nationals and Iranians with connections outside the country accused of national security offences, including espionage. An MP has suggested that Rezaian is facing espionage charges.

The Iranian authorities did not allow the first defence lawyer hired by the Rezaian family to represent him, but on 1 March 2015 a second lawyer was approved to represent him but it is not known if she has been granted permission to meet him.   The family has set up an online petition, where further updates to Jason Rezaian’s case can be read and the petition signed. Iran does not recognize dual nationality and so Rezaian has not been granted any consular assistance.

Despite the fact that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which prohibits arbitrary detention and protects the right to freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial, which also prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, over 20 writers are currently detained or are on trial in Iran for the peaceful expression of their opinions. Iran has a history of arbitrarily detaining dual nationals including academics Ramin Jahanbegloo in 2006, Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh in 2007 and journalists Roxana Saberi and Maziar Bahari in 2009.

 

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