WASHINGTON (KCBS)— The trial of a Washington Post reporter from Marin County who is accused of espionage and other crimes in Iran, began Tuesday in Teheran. Meanwhile, the accused man’s brother, who lives in Mill Valley, is in the nation’s capital, doing everything he can to obtain his brother’s release.
“[I’m] working with the Washington Post to make sure the message gets out; people know about the injustice of the trial that’s going on. They know that there’s no basis,” Ali Rezaian said, explaining his brother’s situation.
Jason Rezaian, 39— Washington Post’s Iran Bureau Chief— was captured in Tehran by authorities in July, 2014. His Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, and two photojournalists were also detained at that time. She was released and faces a separate trial.
Rezaian was born and spent most of his life in the United States, but has both American and Iranian citizenship. However, Iran reportedly does not recognize dual citizenship.
The charges against him include propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Rezaian has spent more than 10 months in jail.
Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told CBS News the secret trial is “unfair”, adding that the journalist has been held in solitary confinement. Ali adds not only has he been held in solitary, but that his brother has lost 40 pounds and is sick.
Ali says he’s drumming up support for his brother and that Jason is not a spy. The family maintains Jason has only been allowed to see his lawyer for limited amounts of time.
Rezaian’s mother, Mary, is in Iran where she travelled to be at her son’s side during the trial, but the judge— the head of the Revolutionary Court— also known as the “judge of death”, only notified them on Monday that the trial would be closed to the media and to the public.
“It’s actually illegal for anyone to talk about the proceedings,” Ali said.
Mary is currently the only source of information on his brother’s situation.
The U.S. State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry have been working on the sidelines to secure Rezaian’s release.
In April, President Obama met with Ali at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner where he personally assured the U.S. would do everything it could to see to it that Rezaian was safely released and brought home.