Reporter’s family urges Iran to release him

A Nov. 6, 2013, photo shows Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, at the newspaper in Washington. (Zoeann Murphy/AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The family of an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post who has been jailed in Iran since July is urging authorities to release him, saying on Thursday that his continued incarceration without charge is a “farce.”

The mother and brother of reporter Jason Rezaian made the plea in a statement to mark his 100 days in custody. They said the Iranian government has failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing against the journalist, who they say has been denied access to a lawyer since he was detained.

“Unlike previous high profile cases, the Iranian government has never even pretended that they had proof to suspect Jason of wrongdoing to justify the detention. So they have spent 100 days interrogating him in an attempt to find something, anything, that they could use to justify his unwarranted detention,” Mary Breme Rezaian and Ali Rezaian said in the statement.

Jason Rezaian, 38, holds American and Iranian citizenship and has reported from Tehran for the Post since 2012. He was detained along with his journalist wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two Iranian-American photojournalists on July 22.

The photojournalists were released within a month of being detained. Salehi’s newspaper, The National, based in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, said earlier this month that she had been freed on bail and had been allowed to visit her husband. It said she is no longer allowed to work as a journalist in Iran.

Iranian authorities have said Rezaian is being held for questioning while investigators probe unspecified security matters. They have not provided specific details of his case.

Outside analysts have suggested his detention reflects a struggle among hard-line elements of the Iranian establishment and the more moderate leadership of President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected last year after promising an easing of political restrictions and reconciliation with the West.

In its statement, Rezaian’s family said Iranian leaders allow subordinates “to make a mockery of the laws they are tasked with upholding.”

“After 100 days it’s time for Iran to concede Jason’s innocence and release him. Doing that would demonstrate to the world much more strength on the part of the Iranian leadership than allowing this farce to continue,” the family said.

Press-freedom advocates such as the Committee to Protect Journalists have called for Rezaian’s release, as has the U.S. government.

At least 35 journalists were detained in Iran and many others claim harassment, interrogations and surveillance, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, wrote in an August report.

By The Associated Press


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