An Iranian court has sentenced Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term, the Iranian media reported, following a press conference with judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei on Sunday, November 22, 2015.
“I cannot disclose details of the sentence, but what I can say is that he’s been sentenced to prison,” Mr Mohseni-Ejei said during the news conference over the weekend.
The judicial spokesperson also told reporters, however, that while the verdict had been issued, it had not been officially handed down to Rezaian or his lawyer and that it was “not finalized.” He added that the possibility of an appeal remained.
The news follows Rezaian’s conviction last month on four serious charges, which included espionage. On October 11, 2015, the judiciary spokesman said a court had convicted Rezaian and that he had 20 days to appeal the decision, but provided no further information.
Rezaian, a dual Iranian-American citizen, has been incarcerated at Evin Prison since July 22, 2014. His trial has seen four closed-door hearings at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards’ claim the reporter is an undercover agent working with the United States government to overthrow the Iranian regime. Rezaian, who has repeatedly denied all allegations, could face up to 20 years in prison.
Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, said she was not informed of the verdict or given details about the sentence.
“I have no information about the verdict or its details,” she told the Associated Press. “We were expecting the verdict some three months ago.”
Foreign editor at the Washington Post, Douglas Jehl, has also denied the accusations facing his former colleague and reporter, Jason.
“We’re aware of the reports in the Iranian media but have no further information at this time,” he said. “Every day that Jason is in prison is an injustice. He has done nothing wrong. Even after keeping Jason in prison 488 days so far, Iran has produced no evidence of wrongdoing. His trial and sentence are a sham, and he should be released immediately.”
Rezaian’s brother, Ali, also issued a statement on Sunday, calling him an “innocent man and a well-respected journalist.”
“The Iranian judicial process around Jason’s case has been profoundly flawed from the outset. The confusion and lack of transparency throughout these proceedings has only made this situation more difficult for Jason and our family,” Ali said.
He added, “As our family gathers for Thanksgiving, we remain hopeful that Jason will soon be reunited with us.”
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