An Iranian court could hand down a verdict in the trial of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent charged with espionage, within a week, his lawyer told reporters on Monday, as a fourth and possibly final hearing in the case was held in Tehran.
The lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told reporters that “this was the final hearing” and said that Iranian law called for a verdict to be issued by next Monday. The Post’s top editor, Martin Baron, said in a statement on Monday that the trial had ended.
The Mizan News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, was less definitive, quoting “a knowledgeable source” as saying that Mr. Rezaian, who has been detained in Iran for more than a year, had given his final defense but that it would be up to the judge to decide whether more hearings were necessary.
As in previous hearings, the proceedings were held behind closed doors and presided over by Abolqasem Salavati, a notably hard-line judge. Both Mr. Rezaian’s mother, Mary, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were denied entry to the courtroom.
Outside the courthouse, Ms. Rezaian told reporters that her son was an ordinary journalist, working “just like others” in Iran. She said the trial had turned into a political issue and challenged Iran’s judiciary to be transparent.
“If the judiciary is really independent, let them organize a public trial and prove whether my son has done anything wrong,” she said, while being comforted by Ms. Salehi. “They cannot prove that he is a spy as there is no evidence.”
SOURCE: THOMAS ERDBRINK and DAN BILEFSKY
The New York Times