Washington Post: Iran statement on reporter trial is ‘puzzling’

An Iranian judiciary spokesman said a ruling had been issued but that it could be appealed and is not final

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The Washington Post said on Sunday an Iranian ruling on espionage charges against its reporter Jason Rezaian was “vague and puzzling,” and it was not clear whether it included a verdict and sentence.

An Iranian judiciary spokesman said on Sunday a ruling had been issued but that it could be appealed and is not final.

“We have no further information at this time and it is not clear whether this ruling includes a verdict or a sentence - or even whether its contents have been communicated to Jason or his lawyer,” Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement.

Rezaian, the U.S. newspaper’s Tehran correspondent, was arrested in July 2014, accused of spying and tried in four hearings behind closed doors, the last of which was in August.

“The verdict for this case has been issued,” Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, who as well as being the judiciary’s spokesman is its deputy chief, was quoted as saying on its official website.

“This verdict can be appealed. The time for an appeal is not yet over. So the court waits and if it doesn’t receive an appeal... the verdict becomes final.”

Rezaian’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

The treatment and trial of the journalist -- a dual Iranian-American citizen -- has drawn condemnation from his family, employer and press freedom groups.

The Post has called the trial a “sick brew of farce and tragedy” and said it “has been anything but transparent and just”.

(With AFP and Reuters)