Target: Secretary of State John Kerry
Goal: Celebrate release of wrongfully convicted journalist.
Following a prisoner swap, 4 Iranian-American nationals who were imprisoned for various charges in Iran have been freed, Tehran’s head prosecutor announced Saturday afternoon. One of these nationals is Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, the subject of several ForceChange petitions, such as the ones found here and here. Rezaian’s release is a victory for journalists and free speech advocates alike, and at long last this innocent man will be able to return to his family.
In July 2014, Iran confirmed that four journalists, including Rezaian, had been arrested and were being held for questioning. A senior Iranian legislator announced that Rezaian was in custody for his efforts to help the U.S. government in their attempts to overthrow Iran’s regime. Rezaian’s wife Yeganeh Salehi, also a correspondent, was arrested as well, but she and two others were later released. From the start, the case against Jason Rezaian was blasted by international activists. Supporters pointed to a lack of evidence and motive, and argued that his imprisonment was motivated by political reasons.
In a statement, the office of the Tehran prosecutor said, “Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the general interests of the Islamic Republic, four Iranian prisoners with dual-nationality were freed today within the framework of a prisoner swap deal.” The other prisoners released include a U.S. Marine and Christian pastor.
Jason Rezaian’s detainment was an attack on freedom of expression. Even if a government does not agree with a journalist’s reporting, it does not have the right to imprison him. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the entire U.S. Department of State, deserve recognition for their role in securing Rezaian’s release. Sign the petition below to thank Secretary Kerry and his department for liberating this man.
Dear Secretary Kerry,
I am writing to thank you for your department’s work in ensuring the release journalist Jason Rezaian. Jason was sentenced despite a lack of condemning evidence or even a motive, and the reversal of this ruling represents a significant victory for free speech.
Freedom of the press is essential in any democracy, and the Iranian government does not have the right to imprison a journalist simply because they do not agree with his reporting. Because of your hard work, an innocent man can escape the clutches of his captors and return home to his family. Thank you for your service to this man and our country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: APK