A US reporter who has been detained for more than a year on charges including espionage has been convicted, according to Iranian authorities, Sky News reports. The verdict against Jason Rezaian was confirmed on state TV on Sunday night by a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary.
“He has been convicted, but I don’t have the details,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi said. The country’s ISNA news agency reported the conviction and state TV aired part of a news conference in which Rezaian was called an “American spy”.
Mr Ejehi said the 39-year-old, who is the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, is eligible to appeal the conviction within 20 days. He faced four charges, the most serious of which was espionage, but it is unclear if he was convicted of all charges, the Washington Post said.
He faces up to 20 years in prison but it is unclear what sentence has been handed down, the newspaper said. Martin Baron, the Washington Post’s executive editor, called the verdict “an outrageous injustice”.
In a statement, he said: “Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing.
“For now, no sentence has been announced.” The Washington Post is working with Rezaian’s family to appeal the verdict and push for his release on bail. Mr Baron added: “The contemptible end to this ‘judicial process’ leaves Iran’s senior leaders with an obligation to right this grievous wrong.
“Jason is a victim – arrested without cause, held for months in isolation, without access to a lawyer, subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, and now convicted without basis.
“He has spent nearly 15 months locked up in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, more than three times as long than any other Western journalists.” Rezaian, who has dual Iranian-American nationality, was arrested with his journalist wife Yeganeh Salehi and two photojournalists on 22 July, 2014.
All have been released, apart from Rezaian.