News ID: 237891
Published: 0310 GMT January 25, 2019

Marzieh Hashemi slams US injustice after her release

Marzieh Hashemi slams US injustice after her release

Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi condemned her detention in the United States, warning anyone can be subject to such illegal behavior of the US government.

“I condemn the situation in the United States that individuals can be detained, arrested without charge,” she said in her exclusive video message to Press TV on Thursday a day after being released from custody, Press TV reported.

Hashemi expressed gratitude to those who supported her around the world and called on them to keep protesting against the unfair justice system in the US in order to prevent such illegal practices.

Hashemi said it was important to raise awareness about the kind of treatment that African Americans, Muslims and people from other minority groups in the US were receiving at the hands of police and other security agencies.

Hashemi's imprisonment drew global condemnation.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif among others described the move as a clear affront to freedom of expression and a political abuse of an innocent individual.

She was not charged with a crime but was detained for 10 days as a material witness in a grand jury investigation in Washington.

Details of the investigation are under seal, and Hashemi said she could not provide details. But she said it is not related to terrorism and has to do with her job and the fact that she lives in Iran.

Hashemi said that her arrest was unnecessary because she would have voluntarily appeared for questioning and would have complied with a federal subpoena.

In an interview with The Associated Press, she said, “I’m not sure what the meaning of ‘Make America Great Again’ is, but if it means just basically taking away human rights more and more every day, that doesn’t seem to be a very great America to me.”

The US government said she had been arrested as a “material witness” in an unspecified criminal proceeding and that she faced no charges herself.

Hashemi appeared before a judge four times and was questioned by prosecutors before the grand jury on three occasions, according to court documents. She said prosecutors appeared to only have “circumstantial” evidence in the case and did not have “anything of any concrete importance.”

At the Washington jail, Hashemi said she was forced to remove her hijab, despite objecting because of her religious beliefs. She was offered a white T-shirt to put on her head.

As she was led down a hallway in a facility that houses both male and female inmates, she was told by officers that she could not wear the shirt to cover her head and could only wear it once she arrived at her cell, she said. For several days, her religious dietary restrictions were also not met, she said.

Hashemi, 59, who works for the Press TV network’s English-language service, is a US citizen and was born Melanie Franklin. She lives in Tehran and returns to the United States about once a year to see her family and work on documentaries.


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