UN petition seeks release of reporter held in Iran

Washington: The Washington Post filed a UN petition today seeking the release of its correspondent Jason Rezaian by Iran, as the dual-national journalist began a second year behind bars.

The US daily said it hopes the petition filed with the UN Human Rights Council’s working group on arbitrary detention will help secure the release of the reporter, who has been accused of espionage.

The petition “makes clear that Jason’s detention is arbitrary and unlawful under both Iranian and international law,” said Jay Kennedy, general counsel for the newspaper, at a news conference where activists marked the anniversary of his detention.

“Given the complete lack of evidence that Jason has committed any crime, we expect the working group to conclude as we have that the government of Iran arrested and detained Jason for his work as a journalist … And find that detention completely unlawful.”

The Post and human rights activists pressing for Rezaian’s release said they hoped the international panel would increase pressure on Tehran to free the journalist, whose health has been declining.