WaPo: Jason Rezaian Has Had Limited Access to Lawyer

Executive editor Martin Baron: Rezaian's lawyer was "misunderstood" when she told the Associated Press that she had no restrictions on access to her client.

In a statement released this morning, executive editor of The Washington PostMartin Baron, repudiates a claim by Leila AhsanJason Rezaian‘s attorney, that she could meet with the Post’s Tehran bureau chief “anytime” during his dentition.

According to Baron, Ashsan was “misunderstood” when she told the Associated Press that she had no restrictions on access to Rezaian. The Washington Post has been fiercely outspoken about Rezaian’s unfair treatment and the unsubstantiated charges by Iranian authorities — maintaining his complete innocence.

Rezaian, in almost his ninth month of captivity, has only had one “brief, cursory” visit with Ashan in preparation of his upcoming trial, according to his family. Baron has called the restrictions “Kafkaesque.”

Below is the full statement from Baron:

We want to set the record straight about Jason Rezaian, The Post’s Tehran correspondent, and what remains his unacceptable lack of access to legal counsel through nearly nine months of detention in Iran.

Jason’s attorney, Leila Ahsan, was misunderstood when quoted by the Associated Press on Sunday as saying that she could meet with Jason “anytime.’’

Jason has still not held a substantive discussion with Leila. Their only meeting took place several weeks ago in a judge’s chambers before Leila had formally been designated as his counsel. They were not permitted to discuss Jason’s case or the charges he faces, which still have not been publicly disclosed.

The two are now scheduled to meet next week. But Jason’s family has now been informed that this session — limited to one hour — will be the only one permitted in preparation for a trial, with a date to be set soon by Iran’s Revolutionary Court. The proceedings could begin by early May, the family has been told.

The idea that Jason — or anyone — could be allowed only one hour with a lawyer before standing trial on serious charges is simply appalling.

These kinds of Kafkaesque restrictions reflect the abject unfairness that Iran has shown at every turn in its handling of Jason’s case. Jason is an accredited Washington Post journalist who has done nothing wrong, yet since his arrest last July 22 he has been subjected to harsh interrogation, months of solitary confinement, and to poor living conditions that have had a serious impact on his health. His case has been assigned to Judge Abolghasem Salavati, who has been sanctioned by the European Union for human rights violations. Reports in the semi-official Iranian press have conjured fanciful and implausible allegations about Jason’s activities that are transparently absurd.

We call again on Iran to demonstrate its commitment to fairness, justice and to following its own law. Any fair review of the case against Jason could only result in his exoneration and his immediate release.