The trial of the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, Jason Rezaian, accused of espionage by the Iranian government opens today.
The process will take place in-camera.
Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian security services in July last year on unspecified charges.
His wife Yeganeh Salehi, a journalist for a Dubai newspaper, was also taken into custody. She was released on bail in October and faces a separate trial.
The brother of the accused, Ali Rezaian, describes the case as a “sham.”: “By having a secret trial, a closed trial, it just shows how scared the Iranians are to show that there is evidence. I think they are embarrassed by the evidence they have. They have gone along with this sham for the last ten months. It’s unlike the Iranian court system, Iranian government, to keep things private when they can go out and use propaganda up against people.“
The Washington Post says that Tehran alleges Jason Rezaian gathered information “about internal and foreign policy” and wrote to President Obama about life in Iran.
Douglas Jehl, Washington Post foreign editor, is concerned:
“We expect that any court that looked at these charges and gave them a fair hearing would immediately acquit Jason, as well as his wife, who faces charges, and allow them to be free. But the process has been so opaque, so patently unfair to date, that we are quite apprehensive.”
The Washington Post applied for a visa to attend the trial in support of the journalist but failed.
Mr Rezaian faces a maximum 20 year jail term.