Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan announced Sunday that reporter Jason Rezaian had left Iran, 14 months after being imprisoned and later convicted on baseless charges of espionage.
"We are relieved that this 545-day nightmare for Jason and his family is finally over," Ryan said in a statement. "We are pleased to see that Iran released four other Americans, and our hope is that those who remain held will soon follow."
The Americans were released as part of a prisoner exchange with Iran that came as sanctions were dropped against the country as part of a nuclear deal.
Post editors and Rezaian's family worked tirelessly for his release, a cause supported by media advocacy organizations and journalists around the world. Post executive editor Marty Baron called Rezaian's October conviction an "outrageous injustice."
"Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing," Baron said.
While the Post editors have been vocal advocates throughout the ordeal, the paper's response Saturday was measured, even as journalists cheered the news on social media. Ryan said Saturday that the Post "couldn’t be happier" over the news, but declined to comment further until the journalist was safely out of Iran.
After the journalist and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, left Iran on Sunday morning, Ryan elaborated on Rezaian's situation in a statement and said the staff was looking forward to "the joyous occasion of welcoming him back to the Washington Post newsroom":
Friends and colleagues at The Washington Post are elated by the wonderful news that Jason Rezaian has been released from Evin Prison and has safely left the country with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi.
We are relieved that this 545-day nightmare for Jason and his family is finally over. We are pleased to see that Iran released four other Americans, and our hope is that those who remain held will soon follow.
We are enormously grateful to all who played a role in securing his release. Our deep appreciation also goes to the many government leaders, journalists, human rights advocates and others around the world who have spoken out on Jason’s behalf and against the harsh confinement that was so wrongly imposed upon him.
After enduring such deplorable conditions and inhumane treatment, the top priority now must be Jason’s health and well-being.
Now a free man, Jason will be reunited with his family, including his brother Ali, his most effective and tireless advocate. We look forward to the joyous occasion of welcoming him back to the Washington Post newsroom.
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