Spying Trial Opens for Post Reporter in Tehran ; Judge on E.U. Blacklist Excludes the Public from Jason Rezaian's Hearings

By Erdbrink, Thomas | International New York Times, May 27, 2015 | Go to article overview

Spying Trial Opens for Post Reporter in Tehran ; Judge on E.U. Blacklist Excludes the Public from Jason Rezaian's Hearings


Erdbrink, Thomas, International New York Times


The trial, which is not open to the public, began in a Tehran courtroom, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported. The charges include espionage.

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent accused by Iran of espionage who has been imprisoned for more than 10 months, went on trial in a Tehran courtroom on Tuesday morning, state news media reported.

The trial, which is not open to the public, began at 10:30 a.m. at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported.

The trial was adjourned after two hours, and the judge in the case, Abolghassem Salavati, will announce a date for the resumption of the proceedings, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The nature of the charges against Mr. Rezaian, 39, was not disclosed until last month, when his lawyer, Leila Ahsan, said they included espionage. Ms. Ahsan has been permitted to meet with Mr. Rezaian, a dual Iranian-American citizen, only once.

The Iranian government is presenting two pieces of evidence of espionage, Mr. Rezaian's brother, Ali Rezaian, said: an American visa application for Yeganeh Salehi, Jason Rezaian's wife, an Iranian citizen and a journalist, and a form letter sent by Mr. Rezaian to Barack Obama's 2008 White House transition team offering help to improve relations between Iran and the United States. It is unclear why the Iranian authorities believe those documents are incriminating.

Judge Salavati has a reputation for tough sentences, which led the European Union to place him on a blacklist in 2011 for human rights abuses. He has ignored foreign requests for court access.

"If Iran had a case against Jason Rezaian, it would try him in public," Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter. …

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