Today marks the 500th day that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has spent in prison in Iran.
On July 22, 2014, Rezaian was arrested in Tehran and accused of spying, which the Washington Post maintains is groundless. Rezaian was convicted in October of this year and sentenced in November to a prison term, but the specifics of his sentencing remain unclear.
Today, Ali Rezaian, the reporter’s brother, presented the United Nations with a petition containing more than 500,000 signatures requesting Rezaian’s freedom. The petition is directed to the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran.
The Washington Post’s publisher, Fred Ryan, released a statement Thursday morning on Rezaian’s incarceration. “This blatant violation of Jason’s basic human rights must end now,” the statement said. “It is time for Jason Rezaian to come home.”
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan’s statement on Jason Rezaian’s 500th day in prison pic.twitter.com/P4YBhXfBln
— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) December 3, 2015
Across the nation and the globe, other institutions and individuals marked the milestone in their own ways. The National Press Club announced on Twitter that they will host a 24-hour reading of Rezaian’s work beginning on Friday morning to honor the reporter in Washington, D.C.
Beginning 7am 12/4, we'll read Jason Rezaian's articles for 24h to mark his 500 days in Iran jail. Watch live: https://t.co/wX1MDsH2aF
— National Press Club (@PressClubDC) December 2, 2015
Noam Chomsky and other supporters published an open letter in The New York Review of Books expressing anger over the incarceration and requesting Rezaian be released.
The Washington Post tweeted out a very simple message. “500 days,” it reads. “#FreeJason.”
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 3, 2015