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Lawyer for Washington Post Reporter Expects Iran Trial Verdict Soon

August 10, 2015

by VOA News

A lawyer for Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian said a verdict in his espionage trial in Iran could come within a week after a Tehran court held a final closed-door hearing on Monday.

Leila Ashan spoke after the fourth hearing since the trial began in May.

The Post, U.S. officials and international press freedom groups have all repeatedly condemned the proceedings and insisted Rezaian is innocent.

He was arrested in July 2014 along with his journalist wife Yeganeh Salehi and held for months without formal charges. He was later charged with espionage and working with "hostile governments."

Washington-based International Law Attorney Steven Schneebaum says the trial did not meet international standards for fairness, citing "many defects."

"It doesn't pass the fairness test because it was conducted in secret, because his attorneys were denied the opportunity to meet with him and to make meaningful submissions to the court. It is not at all clear that the judges in this court are properly legally trained in order to render a verdict in accordance with the law," he said.

Post Executive Editor Martin Baron called it a "sham" in a statement Saturday, and said the charges "could not be more baseless and absurd."

"Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this travesty of a case," he said. "It has imprisoned an innocent journalist for more than a year and subjected him to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse."

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at a press briefing last week that the United States continues to call for the release of Rezaian and all other detained Americans in Iran.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said Rezaian poses no threat to Iran and that the U.S. is disappointed in the case.

When asked last month whether Rezaian's release might be part of the international nuclear agreement with Iran, Kerry said, "We are working very hard on him."

Two other Americans, Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati, have been held in Iran for several years.

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