UNHRC: Oral Statement on detention of Jason Rezaian

UNHRC: Oral Statement on detention of Jason Rezaian - Protection

On 15th September, Ali Rezaian made an oral statement to the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council about the unacceptable detention of his brother, Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent who has been detained in Iran since July 2014. ARTICLE 19, which facilitated Ali’s oral statement in response to the report by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, fully supports Ali Rezaian’s call for immediate release of Jason Rezaian, and appeals to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to review Jason Rezaian’s case with urgency. 

Oral statement

Mr. Vice President, my name is Ali Rezaian.  My brother, Jason Rezaian, is The Washington Post correspondent who has been unlawfully imprisoned in Iran for 420 days, accused of crimes he did not commit.

We have petitioned the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to urgently call for Jason’s release. Today I reiterate that plea and urge this Council and all member states to support it.

Iran acknowledges that it is bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Yet, in this case, Iran has repeatedly – and to this date with impunity – violated those laws.

Jason and his wife were arrested without legal basis, held for months in solitary confinement where they were aggressively interrogated for days on end.

Jason has been mistreated and psychologically abused.  He has suffered serious untreated infections, lost 25 kilos, and struggled with respiratory and other complications.  His mental health deteriorates daily in the face of prolonged isolation and intimidation.

For nearly five months, Iran held him without charges, denied him due process and access to a lawyer.  When he was charged, Iran denied him the lawyer of his choice and delayed their one and only pre-trial meeting for four months.

The trial itself has been a farce; it has been closed to the public, lacking due process, devoid of evidence, repeatedly delayed, and profoundly unfair.

Iran’s conduct violates human rights and freedoms under both the Universal Declaration and the ICCPR and reflects a complete abuse of Iran’s legal framework. Iran’s conduct in this case has been condemned by the UN’s own independent experts, including Dr. Seong-Phil Hong, chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Professor David Kaye, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression; and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran.

To the extent Jason is being held for domestic or international political leverage, such tactics are illegal and inhumane.  He and other journalists must not be imprisoned for exercising their rights and doing their jobs.

I implore Iran to comply with international law and immediately free Jason.

I respectfully urge this Council, its Working Group, Special Rapporteurs, and all member states to help obtain the release of my brother and all victims of arbitrary detention.

Thank you Mr. Vice President.

Thank you to our NGO sponsor ARTICLE 19. And thank you to Jason’s employer, The Washington Post.