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Marzieh Hashemi

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Marzieh Hashemi
Born
Melanie Franklin

(1959-12-21) December 21, 1959 (age 62)
CitizenshipUnited States
Iran[1]
OccupationJournalist
Known forPress TV host

Marzieh Hashemi (Persian: مرضیه هاشمی; born as Melanie Franklin) is an American-born Iranian journalist and television presenter. She is a natural-born citizen of the United States and a naturalized citizen of Iran. Hashemi is employed by Press TV, the Iranian state-owned news and documentary television network.

On January 15, 2019, Hashemi was arrested by the FBI while boarding a St. Louis flight, to visit her children in Denver.[2] According to court documents she was being held as a material witness in a federal investigation and had not been accused of any crime.[3] Hashemi was released on 23 January 2019 after testifying before a federal grand jury in Washington D.C..[4][5]

Biography

Hashemi was born on 21 December 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.[6] She was born into a Christian African-American family.[7][failed verification] She was a student in the field of broadcasting in 1979, when the Iranian revolution happened, as a result of which she converted to Islam and began her career in Islamic newspapers and magazines in United States.[citation needed]

Since 2008, she has lived in Iran, where she is now a TV presenter, journalist, voice-over artist, documentarian and the host of Press TV, Iran's English-language broadcasting network.[6][8]

She has said the main reason for her conversion was the Iranian revolution and the character of Ayatollah Khomeini.

When I was a student in America I witnessed that the Iranian students are so active and I was so interested in political activities then, I used to ask them about their activities and purposes, why you protest? And they used to talk about the cruelty of the overset king [sic] and Imam Khomeini to me, and this was the first step of me becoming Muslim. I was looking for the truth and I wasn't satisfied with my own religion, and I had no solution for the problem that the God has three parts of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Spirit, But [sic] still were one? I wasn't convinced with answers when I asked from different people, when this issue happened to be in university, I started to study not only about Islam but about different religions, and simultaneously comparing them in theory and ideology, from Marx [sic] Weber up to now, and thanks God, after I became Muslim.[8]

She changed her name to Marzieh Hashemi after conversion; Hashemi is her Muslim husband’s last name and she chose Marzieh, a title of Fatimah bint Muhammad, the daughter of an Islamic Prophet.[9] Hashemi was granted Iranian citizenship because her husband is Iranian..[3]

Arrest in the United States (2019)

Tehran rally (2019), to demand the release of Iran’s Press TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi
Tehran rally (2019), to demand the release of Iran’s Press TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi

On 13 January 2019, Hasemi travelled to the United States to visit her family, particularly her ill brother. CNN reported she was traveling to visit her family and film a documentary about Black Lives Matter for Press TV.[7]

Hashemi was arrested at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri and was being held in custody in Washington DC.[3][10] The reason for her arrest was initially unknown, but according to subsequent court documents she was being held as a material witness for a federal investigation but "has not been accused of any crime".[3] According to Reuters, a United States government source told them that a grand jury was examining whether Press TV failed to register as a foreign agent which would be required if it is a propaganda outlet.[3] Following testimony before a federal grand jury in Washington D.C., Hashemi was released on 23 January 2019,[4][11] and returned to Iran on 30 January 2019.[12]

Iranian media said that, after 48 hours, she was allowed to make a call to inform her family. Press TV said Hashemi was denied halal food, offered only pork to eat (which is forbidden under Islamic law), and she had only eaten a packet of crackers since her detainment. Hashemi said that her hijab was forcibly removed and that she is only able to wear a short-sleeved shirt, again contrary to the requirements of her Muslim faith.[10][13] Hashemi had criticized US discrimination against veiled Muslim women in the past.[14]

According to Adam Goldman of The New York Times, Hashemi is the "Individual A." cited in the unsealed indictment of Monica Witt, who is charged with espionage for Iran.[15]

Reaction

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the arrest of Marzieh Hashemi by America as a "political game". He believes that this move is an unacceptable political act that tramples on freedom of speech.[16][17]
  • Peyman Jebelli, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s World Service, described the action a "blunder" and criticized her ill-treatment in US custody.[18]
  • The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) wrote to the UN Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention with regard to Ms. Hashemi's imprisonment. IHRC condemned the journalist's arrest and "called for the widest media solidarity campaign" to help secure her release.[citation needed]
  • After Marzieh Hashemi was arrested in 13 January 2019 in the United States and held in custody for 11 days without charge in Washington DC, protests were held in many international cities on January 25, to demand her release.[19]

References

  1. ^ "Iranian FM Javad Zarif on U.S. Arrest of Press TV Anchor Marzieh Hashemi: This is Political Abuse of an Innocent Individual and an Affront to Freedom of Expression".
  2. ^ "American anchor for Iranian TV is arrested on visit to US". AP News. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e U.S.-born Iranian TV anchor's arrest confirmed by U.S. court, Reuters, 18 January 2019
  4. ^ a b Iranian Journalist Marzieh Hashemi Released By Officials After Grand Jury Appearances, NPR, 23 January 2019
  5. ^ Lartey, amilesLartey (24 January 2019). "US releases American journalist working for Iranian state TV after uproar". theguardian. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Iranian Reporter Tells The Other Side Of The Story". 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b Johnston, Chuck; Barnes, Taylor. "American journalist who works for Iranian TV arrested in US, state-run media says". cnn. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Marzieh Hashemi: Muslim , Christian & Jew no problem with each other, but it's the Medias that are trying to upraise some contrasts among them". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  9. ^ "With Ms. correspondent, from America to Iran". 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Iran says US illegally detained reporter". www.bbc.com. January 16, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  11. ^ ESCOBEDO, RICHARD. "U.S.-born journalist for Iranian network released from federal custody". cbsnews. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  12. ^ Iranian state TV anchor returns to Tehran after 10 days in US detention, The Guardian, 30 January 2019
  13. ^ "Iran claims U.S. holding Iranian state TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  14. ^ "روی دیگر چهره "زن" در آمریکا" [The other face of womanhood in the US]. farsi.khamenei.ir. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  15. ^ Goldman, Adam (13 February 2019), "Spy Betrayed U.S. to Work for Iran, Charges Say", The New York Times
  16. ^ "Iranian state television anchor arrested after flying into the US". theguardian.
  17. ^ "FM Zarif Blasts US Imprisonment of Iran's TV Anchor Hashemi". tasnimnews.
  18. ^ "Press TV Chief Says Will Pursue Case of Jailed Marzieh Hashemi Legally". farsnews. Archived from the original on 2019-01-17.
  19. ^ "Global Rallies Planned in 24 Cities to Demand Iran TV Anchor's Release". tasnimnews. Tasnim. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
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