Muhammad Ali has released a statement via the National Press Club regarding the incarceration of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief who was arrested at his home in Tehran by Iranian Security Forces on July 22, 2014.
“I am sorry that I cannot be physically present to lend my support in person but I pray my words will provide relief to the efforts to secure the release of Jason Rezaian,” said Ali. "Insha’Allah. It is my great hope that the government and judiciary of Iran will end the prolonged detention of journalist Jason Rezaian and provide him with access to all his legal options. During his time as the Washington Post bureau chief in Tehran, Jason used his gift of writing and intimate knowledge of the country to share the stories of the people and culture of Iran to the world.
“To my knowledge Jason is a man of peace and great faith, a man whose dedication and respect for the Iranian people is evident in his work.
“I support his family, friends and colleagues in their efforts to obtain his release”
Jason Rezaian, who has dual US and Iranian citizenship, has been held in prison since July 2014. No other western journalist has been held captive this long in Iran. Until recently Jason was denied access to medical care and to a lawyer. Charges against Jason have never been disclosed to him and have never been made public.
National Press Club President John Hughes announced that Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post has been chosen as the 2015 recipient of the Club’s prestigious John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.
Hughes, in remarks to a Club news conference and live webcast audience, said, "We expect Jason will be free to collect this award’’ at an annual gala July 29. Hughes added, "Iran can set Jason free. We hope and believe the leaders will do the right thing. It is time — it is past time — for Jason to be released.’’
Jason’s brother, Ali Rezaian, gave an update on the situation. He said: “My mother was allowed to visit Jason around Christmas time. She asked Jason if he had any message for me. Jason said, ‘Yes, tell Ali to get me out of here by my birthday.’ Jason’s birthday is March 15.”
Ali said that no date has been set for Jason’s trial but he is hopeful that a trial is coming soon – possibly at the end of March. He said he is glad that his brother finally has a lawyer but does not know if he has had a chance to actually talk to the lawyer yet.
Jason’s editor, Douglas Jehl, Post Foreign Editor, said Jason had done nothing wrong. Jehl said Jason was a professional, accredited journalist who understood and followed rules related to reporting in Iran. He said it was outrageous that Jason had been taken in the manner he was and called for him to be freed. Jehl recalled that Jason really enjoyed his work and filed some interesting stories about life in Iran including one about the pioneering efforts of a small group of Iranians to learn to play the game of baseball.