(Beirut) – Iran’s judiciary has extended Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s pretrial detention for another two months. Rezaian, a dual Iranian and American national, is being held in a section of Evin prison controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He has been in detention for more than four months without being formally charged with any crime.
On November 18, 2014, authorities informed Rezaian that investigations against him are ongoing, and that his pretrial detention has been extended for another two months, a source familiar with his case told Human Rights Watch. Prosecutors have not allowed the lawyer hired by Rezaian’s family to defend him, to speak with him, or to review his case file, the source said. The source added that despite Rezaian’s inability to read or write Persian, authorities did not provide him with an official translator during his interrogation. With a judge’s approval, detaining authorities can, under Iranian law, hold a suspect indefinitely and deny him access to counsel.
“If authorities had evidence that Rezaian had committed a real crime, they should have charged him shortly after his arrest,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “At this point, they should simply release him.”
The Washington Post reported on July 24 that Rezaian had been arrested by security agents two days earlier together with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, and an unnamed photojournalist and her spouse. They were arrested a day after Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance renewed Rezaian’s press credentials.
Gholamhossein Esmaeili, the head of Tehran’s judiciary, confirmed Rezaian’s arrest on July 25, saying he had “been detained for some questions,” but gave no other explanation. He said the judiciary would issue further details after completing its investigation, which has not yet happened. Authorities have since released Salehi and the others on bail, but have not yet charged them. Human Rights Watch is concerned, based on information it has received, that Salehi and Rezaian’s family have been pressured by authorities not to speak to the media or publicize the circumstances of his ongoing detention.