Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is thrilled to learn that Teheran Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian will soon be released from Iranian custody after more than a year in detention. Iranian officials announced today that four U.S. citizens, including Jason, were to be released in a prisoner-swap with the United States.
Jason Rezaian had been imprisoned in Iran since July 22, 2014 on trumped-up charges of “activities against Iran’s security in collaboration with a foreign organization or government” and “anti-government propaganda.” His trial was a travesty of justice. Jason was just doing his job as a reporter and was unlucky enough to have dual US and Iranian nationality at a time when the two countries were conducting tense negotiations about Iran’s nuclear programme. Jason’s wife Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian journalist who was working for The National, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates, and two other US citizens were also arrested on July 22, 2014 and released in 2014. “We are thrilled to see Jason finally free, but he should have never been imprisoned in the first place. Jason was innocent. It is outrageous that he has been used as a bargaining chip”, said Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders Secretary General. Today, as world leaders meet in Vienna to assess Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal, 38 other journalists and citizen journalists remain in prison in Iran. RSF urges the Iranian authorities to release these prisoners. With a total of 38 journalists and citizen-journalists currently detained, Iran is still one of the world’s five biggest prisons for news and information providers and is ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.