Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges

A Washington Post Reporter Is Facing Espionage Charges In Iran


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A jailed Washington Post reporter in Iran faces four charges, including an espionage charge, his lawyer told the newspaper Monday.

Lawyer Leila Ahsan told the Post that Rezaian also faces charges of "conducting propaganda against the establishment," ''collaborating with hostile governments" and "collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent."

4 PHOTOS
WaPo reporter facing 4 charges in Iran
See Gallery
Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 6: FILE, The Washington Post via Getty Images's Jason Rezaian at The Washington Post via Getty Images in Washington, DC on November 6, 2013. (Photo by Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 12 AT 00:01 AM EST Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian who has been detained in Iran since July 2014, and Raza Rumi (R), a Pakistani journalist, discuss the World Press Freedom Index 2015 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, February 11, 2015. Published since 2002, the World Press Freedrom Index measures the level of freedom of information in 180 countries. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 12 AT 00:01 AM EST Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian who has been detained in Iran since July 2014, discusses the World Press Freedom Index 2015 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, February 11, 2015. Published since 2002, the World Press Freedrom Index measures the level of freedom of information in 180 countries. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
EMBARGOED UNTIL FEBRUARY 12 AT 00:01 AM EST Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian who has been detained in Iran since July 2014, speaks alongside Delphine Halgand, USA Director of Reporters Without Borders, as they discuss the World Press Freedom Index 2015 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, February 11, 2015. Published since 2002, the World Press Freedrom Index measures the level of freedom of information in 180 countries. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement that Ahsan's meeting Monday with Rezaian lasted 90 minutes in the presence of an official translator. Baron said the charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison.

"The grave charges against Jason that Iran has now disclosed could not be more ludicrous," Baron said. "It is absurd and despicable to assert, as Iran's judiciary is now claiming, that Jason's work first as a freelance reporter and then as the Post's Tehran correspondent amounted to espionage or otherwise posed any threat to Iranian national security."

Ahsan's comments were the first independent confirmation of the exact charges Rezaian faces.

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency, which is considered close to hard-liners in the Islamic Republic, last week reported that the journalist was accused of "espionage" and "acting against national security."

Rezaian, 39, was arrested on July 22 along with his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is a reporter for The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, and two other journalists whose names have not been made public. All but Rezaian have since been released.

The Post has criticized the limits on Rezaian's access to legal assistance. Deputy U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday if the reports were true, the charges are "patently absurd" and should be dropped immediately and he should be freed.

His family had earlier hoped to hire lawyer Masoud Shafiei, who represented three American hikers arrested by Iranian authorities in 2009. He however was prevented from completing the formalities needed to represent Rezaian, leading the family to eventually hire Ahsan. She only met him once briefly, before she had officially been named as his attorney, prior to Monday's meeting.

Rezaian's detention and possible trial comes as Iran negotiates with world powers over its contested nuclear program.

___

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.