National Press Club urges members, guests to sign Rezaian petition
February 17, 2015 | By John M. Donnelly | firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Press Club has set up a station in its lobby dedicated to seeking freedom for the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, who has been jailed in Iran since July.
``Everybody needs to sign the petition to free Jason,'' Club President John Hughes said. ``We join journalism organizations worldwide in raising our voice to say that no reporter should be jailed for doing his job.''
The Rezaian station, located just outside the library in the main lobby, has information that is readily accessible to the thousands of people who enter the Club each week. The Club urges people to pick up a handout at the station with information about how they can sign the petition by going to www.change.org.
More than 121,000 people have signed the petition so far and nearly 29,000 signatures are needed to reach the goal of 150,000, according to change.org.
Rezaian was arrested July 22, and a member of the Iranian parliament has claimed there is an espionage case against him, according to a Feb. 14 Washington Post article.
Washington Post editor Martin Baron said in a statement in the article that ``we have someone outside the judiciary system making outlandish allegations that come with no evidence. This isn’t justice. This is a tragic farce and a sham.''
Said Hughes, ``Jason is not a spy, he is a reporter. Iran must do the right thing and let him go free.''
The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club, based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1908.
Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club speaks out in favor of transparency and against repression of journalists worldwide.