Jason Rezaian Trial Begins in Tehran Behind Closed Doors

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

The trial for Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian, opens on Tuesday in Iran, as the Tehran bureau chief faces several serious charges, including “espionage” and “collaborating with hostile governments.”

According to a statement on Monday from the Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, the trial will be “closed to the world” — a fact that Baron is seriously disturbed by.

“It’s worth recalling what kind of system we’re dealing with. Jason was arrested without charges. He was imprisoned in Iran’s worst prison. He was placed in isolation for many months and denied medical care he needed. His case was assigned to a judge internationally notorious for human rights violations. He could not select the lawyer of his choosing. He was given only an hour and a half to meet with a lawyer approved by the court. No evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges. The trial date was only disclosed to Jason’s lawyer last week. And now, unsurprisingly but unforgivably, it turns out the trial will be closed.”

Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the trial is the presiding judge, Abolghassem Salavati — often referred to as the “judge of death” for imposing several death sentences following the 2009 post-election opposition protests.

Salavati has been accused of many human rights abuses in the past, particular in regard to journalists and activists.

“There is no justice in this system, not an ounce of it,” wrote Baron in Monday’s statement, “and yet the fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance. Iran is making a statement about its values in its disgraceful treatment of our colleague, and it can only horrify the world community.”

If convicted, Rezaian faces up to 20 years in prison.