Free speech is being encroached upon not just in India but in other parts of the world too. In a black day for press freedom – Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, imprisoned in Tehran for more than 14 months, has been convicted following an opaque trial.
American agencies report that Jason Rezaian was arrested in July 2014 and detained with no access to a lawyer for 9 months before his trial began. Rezaian has been charged with espionage and spreading propaganda against the Iranian govt.
The United States government has repeatedly called on the Iranian authorities to release Jason Rezaian, most recently on the sidelines of the recent nuclear negotiations, which ended in a deal with Iran last month.
After news broke out, the Washington Post slammed the Iran government. In a strongly-worded statement, Martin Baron the Post executive editor said, “Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing.”
Iran has an abysmal record when it comes to press freedom and ranks #173 out of 180 countries on the Reporters without Borders global ranking list.
Journalists – both domestic and international are not the only ones targeted by Iran’s theocratic government. Many émigrés who returned to Iran following assurances of their safe return by the Rouhani administration, have been arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for alleged anti-national crimes.