Journalist Jason Rezaian sues Iran after 18-month detainment

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WaPo journalist Jason Rezaian sits with his wife. Picture courtesy of Mandel Ngan.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was jailed for 544 days on vague charges of espionage, was finally released in January after a deal was struck up between the US and Iran to release prisoners held in each respective country. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, was also imprisoned in Iran, but only for 72 days before she was released.

But now, Rezaian seeks a monetary compensation from the Iranian government for his mistreatment and for the shady charges for which he was arrested.

According to the suit, Rezaian faced a weight loss of 50 pounds from malnutrition in the prison system, had thoughts of suicide, and received threats about murdering him and his wife from prison guards. The suit also asserted that Rezaian was arrested not for a crime, but simply so that he could be used as a bargaining chip for the Iran nuclear deal, and a prisoner exchange deal.

So hopefully his suit goes well, I feel bad for the guy. Imprisoned for no real reason for eighteen months? And in Iran? The jails are probably much worse, going by his testimony. But I guess the only real silver lining coming out of this for him is that he has really had a big impact on US-Iran relations, although that’s probably very easy for me to say, given that I didn’t have to be locked up for over a year.

After this incident, will Iran continue to lock up innocent Americans for bargaining? If they continue to do so, we could see another freeze in Iranian-American relations again, so Iran has to be very careful to not push its luck, which is going to continue to be an important point while the Iran nuclear deal still continues.

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