Iran court holds second hearing in espionage trial of Washington Post journalist

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 08, 2015 5:29 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) - The second hearing in the trial of jailed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian on espionage charges took place behind closed doors in Tehran on Monday, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

The first hearing of Iranian-U.S. citizen Rezaian also had been held behind closed doors on May 26 at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Rezaian has been in Tehran's Evin prison since his arrest in July, 2014.

"The second hearing of Rezaian for spying which had started on Monday at 1030 local time at Branch 15 has ended," Tasnim reported.

"Rezaian defended himself during the trial. Part of his defense was in English, which was translated to Farsi by a translator."

It said the date for Rezaian's next hearing had not been announced yet.

Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told Tasnim last month after the first hearing that he had been charged with espionage for collecting confidential information, handing it to hostile governments, writing a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, and acting against national security.

Rezaian's wife Yeganeh Salehi and a woman photojournalist who were detained with him but were later released also went on trial last month, Iranian media reported.

Obama, relatives and rights groups have called for Rezaian's release and for more information about the charges. Washington has rejected the "absurd" espionage charges against Rezaian.

Rezaian's brother Ali told Reuters Television last month that his brother, the Post's Tehran bureau chief, had lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in prison.

Tehran and six world powers, including the United States, are trying to meet a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear deal to end a decade-old standoff with the West.