Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

LSU grad, Iran state TV English channel anchor held in US

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Guillermo Jimenez | 17 January, 2019, 15:23

On Sunday, Marzieh Hashemi, an American journalist who works for the Iranian state-owned outlet Press TV, was arrested and is being held without charge by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Marzieh Hashemi, who worked for the network's English-language service, was detained in St. Louis, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area.

"The US officials have so far refused to provide any reasons for her apprehension either to her or her family", the broadcaster said on its website.

"We will not spare any legal action" to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran's state IRIB broadcaster.

"The sudden arrest of an American Muslim woman, and inhuman and disrespectful behaviour of U.S. federal officers with her, is a clear example of how an apartheid regime treats its non-white citizens", Mr Qasemi said.

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Press TV said Ms Hashemi had travelled to America "to visit her family members, including her brother, who is suffering from cancer".

Marzieh Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans but has lived in Iran for decades, working 25 years for Iran's state broadcaster.

The broadcaster reported that Hashemi told her daughter she was "handcuffed and shackled" in addition to having her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.

He said her son, Reza Hashemi, had also been arrested but was not in detention while he awaited trial, though he did not specify the charges.

Rebecca Wu, St. Louis' FBI spokeswoman, directed questions to the press office at FBI headquarters. She was then taken to Washington.

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Iran's Foreign Ministry lashed out at the United States over Hashemi's disappearance, calling for her "immediate and unconditional" release.

"We hope that the innocent person will be released without any condition", Ghasemi said. Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, received 27-year and 16-year prison sentences respectively.

Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

U.S. officials have arrested a journalist who works for the Iranian government-backed English-language channel Press TV.

The mysterious circumstances concerning Hashemi's alleged detainment is roiling tensions between the Trump administration and hardline regime in Tehran, which has detained several American citizens in recent months on purported espionage charges.

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Whelan holds citizenship from U.S., Britain, Ireland and Canada, and Lavrov said Russian Federation will allow consular visits. Lavrov promised USA diplomats can make a second visit to the detainee, and an Irish diplomat will also be visiting him soon.

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission, remains missing as well. Tehran now says it has no information about him.

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