Iran Protests US Arrest of Journalist Through Swiss Ambassador

Iran seeks immediate release of Marzieh Hashemi

Over a week after her detention at the St. Louis Lambert Airport, US-born journalist Marzieh Hashemi, an anchor for Iran’s PressTV, remains in federal custody, despite never being charged with or accused of a crime.

Iranian officials have protested before on the matter, and on Tuesday also summoned the Swiss Ambassador to protest the US detention and demand her immediate release. Switzerland handles US diplomacy with Iran since the US has no embassy there.

Hashemi was in the US visiting family, and filming a Black Lives Matter documentary in St. Louis before her arrest. Officially, the US says she is being detained under the material witness law, though there is no timetable, and in the past, the Justice Department has used this law to summarily detain people they don’t have any evidence to charge with a crime.

Hashemi was in court on Friday, and is due to be in court to testify a third time on Wednesday. It isn’t clear what she’s testifying about in these secret sessions, though there were rumors last week it was related to the US trying to crack down on PressTV as “propaganda.”

The detention, and the fact that the FBI still has refused any public comment a solid ten days into the matter, has fueled a growing sense of concern among journalist groups. Hashemi’s son expressed hope that she would be released Wednesday, and said he hopes there would be bigger protests if the government insists on keeping her.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.