Washington Post journalist sentenced to prison term in Iran

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Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, whose detention by the Iranian government has made him a symbol of press freedom campaigners around the world, has been sentenced to an unspecified term in prison, Iran announced Sunday.


Rezaian has been held by Iran since July 2014 on espionage charges. Iran has provided essentially no evidence for its claims, and Rezaian's imprisonment has been widely denounced.

According to an Associated Press report about the sentencing, the announcement of Rezaian's fate was as opaque as the rest of the process:

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, announced the punishment in a statement on the TV station's website.

"In brief, it is a prison sentence," he said. The verdict is "not finalized," he added, referring to an expected appeal.

Ejehi was responding to a question from a local reporter at a weekly news conference. He said the verdict has not been officially communicated to Rezaian or his lawyer.

Post editor Martin Baron condemned the verdict on Twitter.

The paper's foreign editor, Douglas Jehl, called the trial and verdict a "sham," and demanded Rezaian's release.

Sherif Mansour, who runs programs for the Committee to Protect Journalists in the Middle East, also issued a statement about the sentencing:

"By withholding information about the verdict and sentence, the Iranian government shows that its pursuit of Jason Rezaian on bogus espionage charges is nothing but a facade to prolong his unjust imprisonment. The authorities should immediately drop all charges against Jason Rezaian and release him, along with all journalists imprisoned in Iran in relation to their work."