TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the Washington government for arresting Marzieh Hashemi, a US-born Iranian journalist, upon her arrival in the US.
“We condemn the US government's illegal arrest and inhumane treatment of Marzieh Hashemi (Melanie Franklin), a Press TV journalist and anchor, in Washington, DC,” Qassemi said in a statement on Wednesday.
The detention of the American Muslim citizen without any excuse and humiliating and treating her inhumanely is a typical example of the behavior of an apartheid regime with its non-white citizens, he added.
The spokesman said the Islamic Republic calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms Hashemi and the due observance of her rights.
Hashemi has been mysteriously detained and denied access to Halal food by the FBI after she was apprehended at St. Louis Lambert International Airport while traveling to visit family.
English-language Press TV television news says its journalist and anchor was detained at the Airport in Missouri and sent to Washington, DC, where she is currently being held in an FBI detention facility.
Press TV further reported that Hashemi’s family in a statement said she has been kept with no charges and no reason was given for her detention. They also said that her hijab “had been removed against her will” during custody, and that US officials denied her access to halal or vegan food for several days, leaving her with only pretzels and bread.
Iranian and US social media activists started a campaign to ask for her freedom using hashtags such as: #FreeMarziehHashemi, #PrayForMarziehHashemi, and #FreePresstvJournalist.
Hashimi was born as Melanie Franklin in New Orleans, Louisiana. She moved to Iran in 2008. She was on a trip to visit her ill brother and other relatives when she was detained.
Hashimi’s relatives reportedly lost contact with her for 48 hours and only recently learned that she was being held by the US authorities.