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Trial of Washington Post journalist in Iran will be closed to public

2:49am IST - 01:39

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian's trial in Tehran begins on Tuesday but will be closed to the public and his family, his brother tells Reuters. Mana Rabiee reports.

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO ARCHIVES/NO RESALES~ Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian goes on trial in Tehran on Tuesday. The Washington Post Tehran bureau chief was arrested at his home last July and is facing espionage charges and other crimes. His brother, Ali Rezaian, told Reuters in Washington that the family have just learned the trial will be closed to the public... ... a sign, he says, that the Iranian government is embarrassed by the evidence against his brother. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALI REZAIAN, BROTHER OF JASON REZAIAN, SAYING: "Trying to make a case that there is some kind of security reason that the trial should be closed is absolutely ridiculous. It's absolutely unfounded. I think the only reason you could possibly imagine that the trial would be closed would be to prevent people from seeing the lack of evidence." Iran reportedly says the trial will be closed because of security concerns. His attorney has said Rezaian is accused of "collaborating with hostile governments" and -- quote -- "propaganda against the establishment". But Washington Posts senior editors have described the charges as totally baseless. Douglas Jehl is the paper's Foreign Editor: (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOUGLAS JEHL, WASHINGTON POST FOREIGN EDITOR, SAYING: "But they revolve in allegations that what Jason did went beyond his mandate as a journalist, that he gathered information and provided it to foreign governments, including the United States, that he acted in ways that were not part of what he was accredited to do. This is ridiculous. It's ludicrous. What Jason did was act as a journalist-- which involves gathering information, verifying information, and ultimately publishing it." Rezaian's family is urging his supporters to sign their online petition and are calling for his unconditional release.

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Trial of Washington Post journalist in Iran will be closed to public

2:49am IST - 01:39