U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is "deeply disappointed" by reports that a “Washington Post” reporter detained in Iran for more than four months has been formally charged.
The U.S. newspaper reported on December 6 that Jason Rezaian spent about 10 hours in a Tehran court on December 6 while his case was reviewed by a judge.
The “Washington Post” quoted a source close to the case as saying Rezaian signed a document that said he understood he was being charged.
However, it said the nature of the charges were not immediately clear to those not present in the courtroom.
Kerry said in the statement on December 7 that he is "distressed" by the handling of Rezaian's case, including denying him access to a lawyer.
Kerry said that is a violation of Iranian and international laws, adding that Rezaian should be immediately released.
In a statement, “Washington Post” Executive Editor Martin Baron expressed outrage over Rezaian’s continued detention in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
"The Iranian government has never explained why Jason was detained or why he has been held for more than four months without access to a lawyer,” Baron said.
He added that Rezaian was acting as a “fully accredited journalist."
Rezaian, 38, has been the “Washington Post’s” bureau chief in Tehran since 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on the Iranian government to drop any and all charges against Rezaian and release him immediately, saying he poses no threat to Iran’s government or to the country's national security.
Kerry said in a statement issued early on December 7 that the United States shares the concerns of Rezaian’s family regarding reports that he is under physical and psychological distress, and is not receiving proper medical care.
On December 3, Human Rights Watch reported that Iran’s judiciary had extended Rezaian’s pretrial detention until mid-January.
Rezaian, an Iranian American who holds dual citizenship, was arrested July 22 with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi.
Also a journalist, Salehi was later released on bail.
Iranian authorities frequently detain or harass journalists working for Western news organizations.