A Washington Post reporter held in Iran is in “immediate danger,” the newspaper warned Wednesday as Jason Rezaian’s detention approaches its 500th day.
In a press release denouncing reporter Rezaian’s continued detention, The Post revealed a week-old supplemental filing to a petition with the United Nations that claims Rezaian’s health is deteriorating while Iran’s mistreatment of him is increasing.
“Rezaian continues to lose weight; he suffers from blood pressure complications and other physical and mental medical conditions that remain untreated or poorly treated,” the filing, which demands his release, reads. “He has been subjected to further interrogations, psychological abuse and physical mistreatment. He is deprived of normal human interactions, forced to wear a hood when he is escorted around the prison by guards or interrogators and is closely monitored at all times.”
The Post's filing was made to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which took up Rezaian’s case in August.
Last month, Iranian state TV reported that Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen, was sentenced to an unspecified prison term following his conviction on charges that include espionage. The Post maintains he has done nothing wrong.
“Jason has done nothing wrong,” Martin Baron, executive editor, said in a written statement Wednesday. “Iran has never even bothered to produce any evidence against him. His so-called trial was a sham. Recent announcements, without details, of his supposed ‘conviction’ and ‘sentencing’, have only added new layers of cruelty.”
The Obama administration has come under heavy criticism for not securing the release of Rezaian and other U.S. prisoners as part of a nuclear agreement with Iran.
Administration officials have said that expanding the nuclear talks would have given additional leverage to Iran.
When Rezaian’s sentencing was announced, the State Department called on Iran to release him.
“We've seen the reports of a sentence in the case of U.S. citizen Jason Rezaian in Iran but cannot confirm the details ourselves at this time," State Department spokesman John Kirby said last month. "If true, we call on the Iranian authorities to vacate this sentence and immediately free Jason so that he can be returned to his family."