Senior Muslim journalists, activists deplore US ‘Illegal’ detention of Iran TV anchor

Tasnim – Senior Iranian journalists held a meeting at the Association of Muslim Journalists in Tehran on Wednesday to slam the “illegal” detention of Press TV’s news presenter Marzieh Hashemi by the US government.

In a meeting organized by the association on Wednesday, the strong protest of Iranian media outlets, journalists and activists over the “illegal arrest and imprisonment” of Marzieh Hashemi by the FBI officers was expressed.

Among the keynote speakers were Iranian filmmaker and commentator Nader Talebzadeh, Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, and Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, a political analyst in Tehran.

– American Arrogance

At the meeting, Nader Talebzadeh slammed Marzieh Hashemi’s detainment as a “straightforward result of American arrogance.” He also noted that the “US would probably pay for this dearly.”

“Hashemi exemplifies very stern beliefs of what happened in 1979 (Islamic) Revolution in Iran,” he added.

According to Talebzadeh, Ms. Hashemi had many difficulties every time she went to the US, as she was cross-examined very tensely in the customs and was detained for hours.

“Her detention is the direct result of a lot of thinking and think tanks,” he added, describing it as part of a broader plot to intimidate Iran and those who stand for the Islamic Revolution.

He finally expressed the hope that the anchorwoman would return with victory and also shamefulness for the American government.

“Such detainments would be costly for the US government,” he concluded.

– Upcoming Rallies

Meantime, several rallies are scheduled to be held in 24 cities across the globe on Friday, January 25, to demand the release of the news anchor, who has been detained and held in the United States for 11 days so far without charge.

The FBI has repeatedly declined to comment on her arrest. But the US government has confirmed that she has been arrested as a “material witness.” She appeared in a court on Friday for a second time and is slated to appear before a grand jury on Wednesday, January 23. The court has also appointed her an attorney.

Under “18 U.S. Code § 3144,” an individual whose testimony is deemed material to a criminal proceeding can be forcefully seized and held indefinitely if he/she is considered a “flight risk.”

Hashemi’s family have highlighted that law as “controversial” and “a legal loophole,” and have asked people who will rally on the designated date to also protest against it.

“This is not just about our mother. Her case highlights a larger constitutionally legitimized process by way of which people who have not committed a crime can be put in prison through legal means. They can be kept in prison for an indefinite period of time, and all of this is deemed legal and legitimate under US law,” Hashemi’s family argued.

“We believe that it is imperative, especially for marginalized people in the United States of America to understand these controversial laws pertaining to being a ‘material witness’ and other laws that can lead to our detention even if we have done nothing wrong.”