Tehran Times – Marzieh Hashemi, an American-born journalist and anchor, working for Press TV, Iran’s English-language television news network, was imprisoned on as-yet-undefined charges in the United States.
Hashemi, 59, has been detained on Sunday by FBI upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport while traveling to visit family and is reportedly being denied halal food and her hijab is removed against her will.
According to Press TV she was on a trip to visit her ill brother and other relatives when she was detained at the airport and transferred from Missouri to Washington DC, where she is currently being held in an FBI detention facility.
She and her families are denied any information on the reasons behind her detention by the U.S authorities. While Hashemi’s relatives were not able to contact her, she was only allowed to contact her daughter two days after her arrest.
She has told her daughter that she was being mistreated at the prison like a criminal being handcuffed and shackled. She also said that her hijab was removed unwillingly and was photographed without a headscarf once she arrived at the detention facility and is now only wearing a T-shirt and using another one to cover her head.
Hashemi also told her daughter that she had only a packet of crackers as food for the past few days as she has only been offered pork meat- which is not halal according to the Islamic law. Since her arrest #FreeMarziehHashemi, #FreePresstvJournalist, and #PrayForMarziehHashemi have gone viral on twitter.
In twitter some users have condemned U.S. of violating human rights by imprisoning Hashemi and even compared her to Jamal Ahmad a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 by agents of the Saudi government.
“Illegal detention of #marziehHashemi shows the ugly face of #American democracy and how suppression of free speech is going on there!” @syedabaqri wrote on his twitter account. @Kaneezfatima also wrote on twitter “How is the FBI explain away #MarziehHashemi’s arrest without charge and the violation of her rights? Waiting for a statement…”
“#MarziehHashemi, is a U.S. citizen. First, give human rights to your citizen. Then, give human rights to people around the world. Step by step!” @Daniel_A110 wrote. @YJebraily, another twitter user wrote “the U.S. regime silenced #MarziehHashemi by kidnapping her, as the Saudi regime silenced #JamalKhashogji by killing him. Different ways for the same ends.”
“Once Again U.S. showed its true face… U.S. has shown that #HumanRights is only a huge mask to hide behind. I am eagerly waiting to see why FBI has abducted #MarziehHashemi. For being Iranian-American? For presenting Truth?” @mm19921992 also twitted.
Hashemi, was born in New Orleans as Melanie Franklin in a Protestant African-American family. In 1979, concurrent with Islamic Revolution, she was a student in the field of broadcasting. After the Revolution she converted to Islam and worked for Islamic newspapers and magazines in the U.S.
She has lived in Iran since 2008 and has worked as a TV presenter, journalist, voice-over artist, and documentarian and the host of Press TV.