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SPJ glad, relieved to learn of Jason Rezaian's release



Jan. 16, 2016

Paul Fletcher, SPJ National President, 804-873-1893, pfletcher.spj@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is glad and relieved to learn that Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post reporter who has been held in an Iranian prison on spy charges for nearly 18 months, finally has been released.

“This is great news and we are so happy for Jason, his family, friends and colleagues who will finally have him home,” said Paul Fletcher, SPJ National President. “It is a shame that he -- and they -- had to endure this ordeal in the first place. In a world where being a journalist is increasingly dangerous and examined with skepticism, it is our hope that world leaders will realize that journalists, no matter their ethnicity, no matter the location, are trying to practice their profession and relay the news of the day to the citizens of the world. They are not spies. They are not participating in espionage. They should not be treated like criminals for simply practicing their profession. They should not be used as political pawns.”

Rezaian, 39, was freed this morning along with at least three other Iranian-Americans in a prisoner swap on the eve of the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran. He has been held in Iran since July 2014 and was convicted of espionage in a closed trial.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit spj.org.


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