Anchor Hashemi awaits second court hearing on Wednesday

January 21, 2019

TEHRAN – The second court session for jailed U.S.-born Iranian TV anchor, Marzieh Hashemi, will be held on Wednesday, January 23, in Washington, the official website of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported on Monday.

The report also said that Hashemi had been recently allowed to call her daughter for a second time.

“She had no information if any decision was made for her release (following the completion of her testimony),” her daughter said.

Family members say Hashemi, 59, was detained at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport on January 13 and then taken by the FBI to Washington.

On Saturday, a U.S. federal judge said that the news presenter was testifying behind closed doors to a grand jury in Washington.

Judge Howell said Hashemi has not been charged with any crime, but has made two appearances in District Court, NPR reported. She is expected to be released when she completes her grand jury testimony.

Howell’s order did not say when Hashemi might wrap up her testimony and gave no information on the case in which she was testifying.

However, Hashemi’s lawyer, Preston Burton, said, “we expect that she will soon return to her family, her home, and her career.”

Hashemi was born in New Orleans with the name Melanie Franklin. She married an Iranian man, converted to Islam, changed her name and moved to Iran in the 1980s. While she’s unknown in the U.S., she’s a prominent figure in Iran due to her position on state television. She’s a citizen of both the US and Iran.

She traveled to the U.S. to visit relatives and to shoot a documentary, according to Press TV, which spoke to her son Hossein Hashemi.

Pakistani activists, journos protest Hashemi’s detention

Pakistani rights activists and journalist groups on Monday staged a protest rally in the city of Karachi to condemn U.S. detention of Hashemi, Fars reported.

During the protest on Monday, the participants denounced the imprisonment of the journalist without charge as a violation of human rights and freedom of speech.

In a report published on Saturday, the Washington Post said U.S. judicial authorities rarely issue material witness warrants, and the warrant issued for Press TV’s anchorwoman is the first of its kind this year.

John Steppling, a political commentator, condemned the detention of the journalist, saying holding Hashemi as a material witness would constitute intellectual terrorism.

He also said Iran’s independence makes the American authorities very angry.

Max Igan, another political commentator, noted that the mainstream media remain hugely silent about the detention.

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