Iran trial for Washington Post reporter starts

The trial of a Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for almost 10 months on charges that include "espionage" began in the capital Tehran behind closed doors. Jason Rezaian, a dual US-Iranian citizen, has been accused of passing information to "hostile governments". The Washington Post's editor described the trial as "shameful" and criticised the decision to hold it in private. Mr Rezaian could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He is being tried in one of Tehran's revolutionary courts, usually reserved for political cases or those related to national security. According to the Iranian IRNA news agency, Mr Rezaian spent several hours in court before the session was adjourned. He appeared alongside his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and a third detainee, reported to be a female photojournalist. There have been no further details on their charges. Iran has not recently commented on the case, but the Washington Post has spoken out forcefully. "The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of [Mr] Rezaian," a statement by the newspaper's Executive Editor Martin Baron says. "Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves. "There is no justice in this system, not an ounce of it, and yet the fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance." Both Mr Rezaian (right) and his wife Yeganeh (left) face criminal charges The paper points out that Mr Rezaian was arrested without charge and jailed in Iran's notorious Evin prison - placed in isolation for many months and denied medical care he needed. It says that he was given only an hour and a half to meet a lawyer approved by the court and "no evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges". Mr Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told Iranian state media that her client had been charged with "espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against" Iran. His brother, Ali, meanwhile told the BBC there was no evidence to support the charges: "They've cherry-picked information to come up with whatever they could to charge him with to make it seem like there was a reason that they've held him." The US authorities had put a lot of effort into fighting the case, he added. The case is all the more sensitive because it has unfolded during negotiations between Iran and the West over the country's nuclear programme.