TEHRAN, Iran – The final hearing for a Washington Post reporter detained in Iran more than a year ago and charged with espionage ended on Monday, with a verdict expected in the coming days in a trial that has been condemned by the newspaper and press freedom groups.
The fourth closed-door hearing in the trial of Jason Rezaian, who has American and Iranian citizenship, ended after a few hours devoted to his defence. Rezaian was tried by a Revolutionary Court, which hears sensitive cases, including those related to national security.
Iran begins trial of detained Washington Post reporter
Washington Post reporter detained in Iran is facing ‘espionage’ charges
His lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told The Associated Press after the hearing that she expects a verdict “in a week.” The trial began in May.
Rezaian’s mother, Mary, who was outside the court with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, told reporters her son was innocent, a victim of the hostility between Iran and the United States dating back to the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“He is paying the price of the suspicion, the animosity and the paranoia between the two countries,” she said.
Rezaian, Salehi, and two photojournalists were detained on July 22, 2014, in Tehran. All were later released except Rezaian, who reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges that include espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
The Post, the U.S. government and press freedom organizations have criticized his long detention and trial.
Salehi, a journalist for The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, reportedly has been banned from leaving Iran.
U.S. officials have pressed for the release of Rezaian and other Americans detained in Iran, but their cases were not included in a landmark nuclear deal reached with Tehran last month.
Rezaian’s mother objected to his long detention and the repeated delays of the trial. She called on authorities to release details about the charges her son faces and the tapes from the trial itself, “so that the Iranian people and the American people can see if Jason really did harm to Iran or not.”
She said her son was lonely and exhausted. “He is very tired. He is very isolated. They do not have him with other people that he can speak with (in) the same languages, English, Farsi, and so he is very isolated.”