Ten days ago, US citizen Marzieh Hashemi was arrested at the St. Louis Lambert Airport, and transferred into FBI custody. On Wednesday, she was finally released, having never been charged with a crime.
Hashemi is a journalist and an anchor for Iran’s PressTV, and her arrest was the subject of mounting international scrutiny, though the US government had refused virtually all comment. Officially she was kept in prison as a “material witness.”
Hashemi and her family issued a statement following her release, saying she retains “serious grievances” about her treatment in the US prison system, during which her hijab was forcibly removed, and she was denied food in keeping with her religious requirements. She has promised to continue protests to prevent the US from imprisoning people without charges like this ever again.
Broadly there is still no information from the US government about what happened. Hashemi was in court on at least thee occasions, but it is as yet unclear what, if anything, was discussed therein, and the Justice Department has in the past overtly abused the material witness law as a way to detain people when they lack any legal basis for doing so.
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