Press TV – The children of Press TV Anchor Marzieh Hashemi have expressed concern about the situation of their mother who is languishing in US jail for a week now without any charge.
Hashemi’s daughter, Sarah, said on Saturday she has no idea why her mother has been detained. She said the whole family is going through a very difficult time and they just want their mother back home.
American authorities are now turning their focus on Press TV, Iran’s English-language news network. A US government source told Reuters that the grand jury in Hashemi’s case is to examine whether Press TV is a propaganda outlet that failed to register with the Justice Department as a “foreign agent.”
Hashemi, a 59-year-old US citizen who has been living in Iran for years, was detained last week while she was in the United States to visit her ill brother and other family members.
After days of silence, the US government confirmed Friday that it has been holding Hashemi in jail since Sunday as a “material witness” and that she will be released after she testifies before a grand jury but her children say she is being treated like a criminal.
So far, the Press TV news presenter has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington.
This, outside BBC office in London, in solidarity with #MarziehHashemi, a Press TV journalist detained by FBI, accused of… being a hijabi, brave, independent, outspoken Muslim woman. #FreeMarziehHashemi pic.twitter.com/hDpZYymzoZ
— Zafar Mehdi (@mehdizafar) January 19, 2019
The court order says the US government expects Hashemi’s immediate release after she finishes testifying the grand jury investigating violations of US criminal law, but her son elder, Hossein, said that she was unlikely to be freed soon.
“We’re hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” he said on Friday. “So we’re just waiting to hear more.”
Hashemi’s three children are also due to appear in court on January 23.
She was arrested by the FBI upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on a material witness warrant in an unspecified investigation.
US-based analysts appearing regularly on Press TV believe either US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton has ordered the arrest and other possible action against the broadcaster.
The targeting of Press TV comes amid a stepped-up US pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic under the administration of President Donald Trump.
— Press TV (@PressTV) January 19, 2019
The case is similar to that of RT America, a subsidiary of Russia’s RT television network, which has been the target of the US Department of Justice since November 2017 as a “foreign agent” in the US.
It came after a report by the US director of National Intelligence accused RT of contributing to the Kremlin’s alleged campaign to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.