The family of a Washington Post journalist imprisoned in Iran for almost eight months on Thursday appealed to the government in Tehran to release him on bail for the Persian new year.
On Jason Rezaian’s 233rd day in captivity, his brother, Ali, asked Tehran to temporarily free him to spend Nowruz, the spring solstice that begins March 21, with his wife and her family.
“It’s a time for new beginnings,” said Ali Rezaian in a news conference at the National Press Club. “It’s a time for generosity and mercy.”
The press club announced it was giving a press freedom award to Rezaian, The Post’s Tehran bureau chief who was arrested July 22 last year on charges that remain vague. The John Aubuchon Award, named after a past president of the club, will be presented at a dinner on July 29.
“We expect Jason will be free to collect this award,” said John Hughes, president of the club.
Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were picked up by Iranian security forces who raided their home and carted away notes, laptops and books. She was released two months later, but Rezaian has been held twice as long as any other Western journalist in Iran. Ali Rezaian said his brother was interrogated about his e-mails, visitors and phone records.