TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – The lawyer of detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian said Tuesday her client should be freed in the wake of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Iranian media reported.
Both the semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies quoted Rezaian’s defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, as saying Iran’s new penal code also meant the Iranian-American journalist should be freed. Ahsan did not elaborate, but new laws in Iran bar those on trial for charges other than murder from being in detention for more than a year before a verdict.
Rezaian, held for more than a year, reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted in his closed-door trial in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on charges that include espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
Ahsan, in her comment to the news agencies, said the deal of Iran’s contested nuclear program, reached July 14 in Vienna, meant Rezaian should be freed.
“Regarding the circumstances of the Vienna deal, we have called for an acquittal for my client to be issued as soon as possible,” Ahsan reportedly told Fars, without elaborating. She reiterated earlier comments that she expected the next hearing in Rezaian’s case to be the last before a verdict is announced.
Ahsan could not be immediately reached for comment by The Associated Press.
Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, a journalist for The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, and two photographers were detained along with him on July 22, 2014, in Tehran. All except Rezaian were later released. Salehi reportedly has been blocked from traveling outside of Iran.
U.S. officials, the Post and rights groups repeatedly have criticized Rezaian’s trial.