Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s trial has begun in Tehran, Iran, behind closed doors.
Jason Rezaian, a US-Iranian citizen, was detained in Iran for almost 10 months on charges that include “espionage”.
He has been accused of passing information to “hostile governments”.
Washington Post‘s editor Martin Baron described the trial as “shameful” and criticized the decision to hold it in private.
Jason Rezaian could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Iran has not recently commented on the case, but the Washington Post has spoken out forcefully.
“The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of [Jason] Rezaian,” a statement by the newspaper’s Executive Editor Martin Baron says.
“Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves.
The newspaper points out that Jason Rezaian was arrested without charge and imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison – placed in isolation for many months and denied medical care he needed.
It says that Jason Rezaian was given only an hour-and-a-half to meet a lawyer approved by the court and “no evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges”.
US officials have repeatedly raised Jason Rezaian’s case during months of nuclear negotiations with Iran, but have declined to link the two.
Jason Rezaian’s family has taken heart from recent comments by President Barack Obama, who said that the White House would not rest until the journalist was brought home safely.
The case is all the more sensitive because it has unfolded during nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West.
Some analysts have suggested the arrest was related to internal power struggles in Iran over the outcome of the nuclear talks.
Iran and six major world powers, including the US, have set a June 30 deadline for a conclusive nuclear deal to end a 10-year impasse.
Jason Rezaian had been the Washington Post‘s Tehran bureau chief since 2012.
The journalist’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was arrested alongside him in July but later bailed, and a third person have also been summoned to appear in court.