WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the National Press Club and journalist around the world are overjoyed at the news our colleague Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian who has been in prison for 544 days for simply doing his job has been released, and will now be reunited with his family and friends.
The Iranian government announced Rezaian has been released along with three other Iranian-American prisoners in a prisoner swap and student Matthew Trevithick in a separate deal. While the news is very encouraging, Rezaian should never have been incarcerated in the first place and tried on trumped up charges.
"Journalists everywhere are celebrating this day but they also know this day should never have had to happen. Jason should have been reporting for the last 544 days not stuck in an Iranian cell," said NPC President Thomas Burr. "While we don't know the details of the negotiations here, I want to stress that journalists should never be pawns in a political game."
"This is about the courage of Jason's family, especially his brother Ali and The Washington Post who have been tireless in their efforts to free Jason," added Burr.
Since Rezaian was arrested by Iranian authorities the NPC has hosted multiple press conferences with Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron and Ali Rezaian, promoted an online campaign collecting signatures demanding his release and held a 24-hour readathon of Rezaian's articles. Journalists around the world have joined us in condemning the baseless charges of espionage that was levied against Rezaian and demanded his freedom.
"The news today is extremely encouraging and his release is long overdue," said John Donnelly, chair of the NPC Press Freedom Committee. "We are all excited at the prospect of being able to see him with our own eyes, safe and sound."
The other prisoners who have reportedly been released are former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Pastor Saeed Abedini and businessman Siamak Namazi.
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club
SOURCE National Press Club