US Frees Jailed Press TV Journalist After 10 Days

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WASHINGTON — A US-born journalist for Iran’s English language Press TV has been released after being held for 10 days in Washington as a material witness in an undisclosed US federal investigation, Hashemi’s family said on Thursday.

The journalist appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, when her testimony was expected. The Associated Press cited the people familiar with her case as saying that she was released after her testimony concluded Wednesday afternoon.

“Marzieh Hashemi has been released from her detention without charge and is with her family in Washington DC,” statement issued by the family said.

“They still have serious grievances and they want assurances that this won’t happen to any Muslim – or any other person – ever again.”

Hashemi will stay in Washington for a protest over her detention on Friday and she urged protesters in cities across the world to stick to their plans for the demonstration, Press TV said in a statement.

Press TV said  that US officials had prevented her from wearing her hijab and had offered only pork, prohibited in Islam, as a meal during her detention.

US federal law allows the government to arrest and detain a witness if it can prove their testimony is material to a criminal proceeding and it cannot guarantee their presence through a subpoena.

On Tuesday, Iran’s foreign ministry had summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehranto demand Hashemi’s release.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran handles US interests in Iran after the two countries broke off relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

‘Flight risk’

Hashemi, a 59-year-old American-born Muslim convert who has lived in Iran for years, was detained at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri on January 13th while in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members.

She received Iranian citizenship after marrying an Iranian.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday that the US needed to elaborate on its accusations against Hashemi.

“The US govt needs to explain how Marzieh Hashemi – a journalist and grandmother – is such a flight risk that she must be incarcerated until she finishes her testimony to a grand jury,” he wrote.

“50 years after MLK assassination, US still violates the civil rights of black men and women.”

There has been tension between Tehran and the Washington since US President Donald Trump’s decision last May to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Following is a statement issued by her family after her release:

All Praise Is Due To Allah  

Marzieh Hashemi has been released from her detention without charge and is with her family in Washington DC. 

Marzieh and her family will not allow this to be swept under the carpet. They still have serious grievances and want answers as to how this was allowed to happen.  

They want assurances that this won’t happen to any Muslim – or any other person – ever again. 

Just as America is aware of the harassment of the Black community by the police, America needs to start talking about the harassment of the Muslim community by the FBI.  

Marzieh Hashemi will be remaining in Washington DC for the protest on Friday and calls for all cities across the world to keep their protest.  

This was never just about Marzieh Hashemi. This is about the fact that anyone of us, Muslim or non Muslim can be imprisoned without charge in the United States. 

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