Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been released from prison in Iran after 544 days in captivity. Rezaian had been sentenced to prison in Iran for spying, a charge the U.S. State Department called “absurd.” The journalist was seized from his Tehran home in July 2014 and convicted after a secret trial. He was held in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison under harsh conditions.
The Newseum released this statement:
“The Newseum joins the Rezaian family, The Washington Post and the global community in celebrating the news today that journalist Jason Rezaian, along with three others, has been released from an Iranian prison. As we welcome this news, we reject the precedent that innocent journalists, clergy and others should be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.
“We remember that journalists today are being threatened, imprisoned and killed at an increasingly alarming rate. One need only look at the shrinking amount of green — the color denoting a free press — on our World Press Freedom Map to see there is much work to be done.”
Iran has the second-largest number of jailed journalists in the world after China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.