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Reports: 'Washington Post' Journalist Sentenced To Jail Time In Iran

Jason Rezaian, Tehran correspondent for <em>The </em><em>Washington Post</em>, is seen April 11, 2013.
Vahid Salemi
Jason Rezaian, Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post, is seen April 11, 2013.

An Iranian court has sentenced a Washington Post reporter to prison, two semi-official news agencies report.

As we've reported, Jason Rezaian has been held in Iran for more than a year. The country has accused him of espionage, a charge his paper has always denied.

In a statement, Jason Rezaian's brother, Ali, said the family has heard the reports, but they cannot confirm their authenticity.

However, the IRNA and MEHR news agencies report that Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, a judiciary spokesman, broke the news during a press conference.

The agencies report that all Ejel would say is that a judge handed down a sentence and an appeal is pending.

MEHR added that Ejel said the news:

" ... had not been communicated to his family and lawyer yet. Ejei only made a conjecture that the verdict would possibly be "years in prison," but said that it would be appealed against within 20 days."

In a statement, the Washington Post's foreign editor Douglas Jehl called Rezaian's trial and sentence a "sham."

"Even after keeping Jason in prison 487 days so far, Iran has produced no evidence of wrongdoing," Jehl said. "His trial and sentence are a sham, and he should be released immediately."

Rezaian's brother said that as the family gathers for Thanksgiving, they remain hopeful for a reunion.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.