Monday, January 18, 2016

Freed WaPo Reporter Arrives In Germany

Jason Rezaian arriving in Geneva
(Reuters) -- Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, freed from Iran on Sunday after being held in custody more than a year and half, is in good spirits and doing "a hell of a lot better than I was 48 hours ago," the newspaper said on Sunday.

Rezaian and two other Iranian-Americans arrived in Germany after leaving Tehran on Sunday in a prisoner swap following the lifting of most international sanctions on Iran under last year's landmark nuclear accord.

Rezaian, 39, the Post's Tehran bureau chief, was arrested in Iran in July 2014 and sentenced last November to a prison term. Iranian prosecutors had accused him of espionage, charges the Post had dismissed as "absurd."

In a statement after the release of Rezaian, Washington Post Publisher Frederick Ryan said: "We are relieved that this 545-day nightmare for Jason and his family is finally over."

In a phone conversation on Sunday evening with Post Executive Editor Martin Baron and Foreign Editor Douglas Jehl, Rezaian thanked the paper for its strong and unwavering support during the time he was held prisoner.

"Asked how he was doing, he said, 'I'm a hell of a lot better than I was 48 hours ago,'" the Post said in a memo to Post staff, which was released by the newspaper.

The Post said Rezaian reported feeling better than he did several months ago and that his mind was sharp.

"He found escape in the fiction he was allowed to read, and today he was avidly reading whatever he wanted," the Post memo said, adding that Rezaian found isolation the most difficult thing about his ordeal.

"Jason expressed hope that he can see us both in person tomorrow, and he looks forward to seeing everyone at The Post very soon," the newspaper said, quoting Rezaian as saying: "I hear there's going to be a big party."

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