Prominent Iranian Jailed By FBI: Demand Her Freedom

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Above Photo: Marzieh Hashemi.

Marzieh Hashemi is a USborn journalist and US citizen working for Iran’s English-language Press TV in Iran. She came back to the US to visit a sick relative and was detained in St. Louis on Sunday by the FBI.There continue to be no charges brought against Hashem and she has no criminal record.

Her eldest son, Hossein Hashemi, has told Press TV that his mother is being held in a DC area prison. She has only eaten pretzels because her dietary restrictions limited her from the kinds of food that the prison facility would offer. Her hijab was removed and she is using a T-shirt to cover her hair. He and his siblings have received subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. They do not know what the grand jury is investigating.

Hossein notes the political nature of his mother’s reporting saying his mother “does documentaries on Black Lives Matters and is critical of a lot of the domestic policies of the United States government, the school-to-prison sort of pipeline and the white community and also the wars abroad and the regime change policies that the United States enforces all the time and puts major budgets behind.”

CBS News reports that the Department of Justice is not commenting and her son says she is being held as a material witness. CBS reported:

“The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI continued on Thursday to refuse comment on the alleged detention of an American woman who has worked for years as an anchorwoman on Iran’s state-run television. Marzieh Hashemi was arrested by the FBI during a visit to the U.S. on Sunday, Iran’s English-language broadcaster Press TV reported Wednesday. Her son has said she is being held in a prison, apparently as a material witness.

“Hashemi was detained in St. Louis, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area. She was then taken to Washington, according to her elder son, Hossein Hashemi.

“Contacted by CBS News, both the FBI and the Justice Department have declined to comment on the case.”

Under US law, federal judges can order witnesses to be arrested and detained if the government can prove their testimony has extraordinary value for a criminal case and that they would be a flight risk and unlikely to respond to a subpoena, witnesses are required to be promptly released once they are deposed. Her son told the media that his mother would “absolutely” have been willing to cooperate with the FBI over any criminal investigation, but no attempt was made by the agency to contact his mother.
The Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council condemned the US imprisonment of Hashemi describing it as “violent and humiliating treatment” that violated international human rights norms. The Council is calling for the United Nations’ to take action to secure her freedom.

The arrest may be a response to the detention of US Navy veteran Michael R. White who was arrested in July. He is being held in prison by Iran and is the first American known to be detained during Trump’s administration. At least four other US citizens are being held in Iran.

Press TV has been advocating for her release. Among other things they have published this video in support of Hashemi.

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People are organizing to #FreeMarziehHashemi


Minneapolis, MN – A well-known Iranian journalist, Marzieh Hashemi, has been jailed by the FBI. Hashemi is an anchor on Iran’s English language Press TV and has interviewed many progressive U.S. activists. According to credible reports, Hashemi was taken into custody at the Saint Louis, Missouri area’s Louis Lambert International Airport on January 13. The FBI has since moved her to a detention facility near Washington DC.

There is no indication that Hashemi has been charged with anything.

Hashemi, who was born in the United States but resides in Iran, was on a visit to family members, including a brother who is ill.

According to her family, Hashemi is being mistreated at the detention facility, where she is manacled, given meals of pork which she cannot eat, and has had her hijab taken away.

Joe Iosbaker, a leader of Chicago Freedom Road Socialist Organization states, “Marzieh is a journalist that has interviewed me in the past, about the U.S. war in Syria, and about the FBI witch hunt against the Anti-War 23 that started in 2010. Born and raised in the U.S., she’s my age, and like me, was politicized as a college student by the struggle of the Iranian people against the brutal dictatorship of the Shah in the late 1970s. She visits her daughter and grandchildren here in the U.S. regularly. Her arrest is an act of political repression. We demand she be released immediately.”

  • dopfa

    Maybe they’ll charge her with being a journalist, a category of profession that getting more illegal as the fascists take over.

  • herbdavis

    Did Obama end the writ of Habeas Corpus…if not get an attorney on it.

  • Pat moore

    The rights that we hope are a part of our society can only be realized as they are extended to all.

  • mamachef

    Charge of ‘speaking while Muslim’?

  • mwildfire

    What about ACLU? They should be intervening. But I would like more info on the Americans held in Iran. Not that that injustice, if so it be, justifies this one.

  • dopfa