WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the National Press Club and journalists around the world are overjoyed at the news our colleague Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post is now free after spending some 544 days in an Iranian prison.
"We applaud the courage and tenacity of Jason's family, especially his brother Ali, and The Washington Post who have been tireless in their efforts to free Jason," said NPC President Thomas Burr.
"Journalists everywhere are celebrating today but they also know this day should never have had to happen. Jason should have been reporting for the last 544 days, not imprisoned on baseless charges," Burr added. "While we don't know the details of the negotiations, journalists should never be pawns in a political game."
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 were 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 National Press Club opened its doors on Saturday for members and the public to watch the developments in Jason's case.
"The leaders, members and staff of the National Press Club have been fully committed to Jason's release since his unjust detention in July 2014," Burr said. "We thank everyone for their commitment to fight for Jason's release and will welcome him with open arms on his return to Washington."
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SOURCE National Press Club