Former Bay Area journalist convicted of espionage in Iran

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A former Bay Area journalist who has been held in an Iranian prison for over a year has been convicted by Iran in an espionage trial.

Jason Rezaian, 39, is a Washington Post correspondent who has been based in Tehran since 2012.

Iranian media is reporting Rezaian has been convicted, but not even the U.S. State Department know specifics about the verdict or the sentence.

Nearly 500 days ago, Rezaian was thrown into prison in Tehran. That's longer than the U.S. Embassy hostages were held in 1979.

Rezaian faces four charges, with the most serious being espionage, allegations that both he and the Washington Post deny. "He's innocent, he's an accredited journalist, he's been caught up in larger forces inside Iran," Washington Post Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl said.

Rezaian's family has had limited contact with him over the past 15 months. "Jason's been isolated, he's been held, he's been interrogated for weeks and weeks on end," Jason's brother Ali Rezaian said.

The trial was held behind closed doors and his family was not allowed to attend.

On Monday, Iranian media outlets reported Rezaian was found guilty, but no one has clarified what he was found guilty of doing.

The U.S. State Department released a statement saying: "Regardless of whether there has been a conviction or not, we continue to call for the government of Iran to drop all charges against Jason and release him immediately.

The executive editor of the Washington Post called the verdict an outrageous injustice and contemptible.

According to the Washington Post, Rezaian faces 10 to 20 years in prison and under Iranian law he has only 20 days to appeal.

The paper questioned whether the San Rafael native has even been informed of the verdict.

Edward Snowden took to Twitter in support of Rezaian on Monday saying: "Iran's shocking conviction of a journalist on secret evidence must not stand. #FreeJason."
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