Protesters condemn U.S. arbitrary detention of Marzieh Hashemi

January 23, 2019

TEHRAN – The staff members of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on Wednesday gathered in front of the United Nations’ office in Tehran to condemn the U.S. detention of Press TV news presenter Marzieh Hashemi.

According to Press TV, the demonstration was attended by IRIB World Service director Peyman Jebelli, and Habib Abdolhossein, who is the manager of Press TV’s English-language website.

The protesters held up placards and chanted slogans to demand the release of Hashemi, who was detained at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport on January 13 and then taken by the FBI to Washington.

In a joint statement read out at the gathering, the IRIB, the Basij media branch and national media center, and the Association of Muslim Journalists demanded an immediate release of Hashemi and said the U.S. government should “apologize to the international media community, of which Hashemi is not only a member, but also a prominent one.”

They also slammed the discriminatory conduct of U.S. government, asking, “How is it that a ‘witness’ or even ‘a key witness’ is being constrained by handcuffs and shackles? How is it that a ‘witness’ is deprived of her most basic religious rights?”

“And how is it that a ‘witness’ is denied every prisoner’s basic right to contact their family, and made to stay in prison incommunicado, even though the judicial apparatus itself has acknowledged her innocence and lack of charges against her?” the statement added.

Later in the day, the Association of Muslim Journalists organized a conference to condemn the “illegal arrest and imprisonment” of Hashemi and demand her immediate release.

Iranian filmmaker and commentator Nader Talebzadeh, Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, and Mostafa Khoshcheshm, a political analyst and university professor, addressed the conference.

In his opening remarks, Talebzadeh condemned the move as a “straightforward result of American arrogance,” saying “her detention is the direct result of a lot of thinking in think tanks.”

“Hashemi exemplifies very stern beliefs of what happened in 1979 [Islamic] Revolution in Iran,” he remarked.

Talebzadeh said the illegal act is part of a broader plot to intimidate Iran and those who stand for the Islamic Revolution.

“We pray that she returns with victory and also shamefulness for the American government,” he said, arguing such detainments would be costly for the U.S. government.

Khoshcheshm also emphasized that the detention was a “flagrant violation of human rights, a violation of domestic rights, a violation of freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.”

He said the U.S. has admitted that Hashemi’s detention was done according to a very rarely-practiced law, adding that such fact requires elaboration and explanation by the U.S.

“The fact that they do not see themselves duty-bound to elaborate on the cause of her arrest or to present more elaboration and explanations to the public, to her family at least, shows why the Iranian people call the U.S. an arrogant entity,” he argued.

The analyst further noted that Hashemi’s case also proves that notions like human rights, democracy, freedom of the press, as well as freedom of expression, they all matter when they are in alliance with the U.S. agenda.

During his speech, Marandi also said he has “almost zero” expectations from the Western media outlets when it comes to such cases.

Citing a few examples of how the mainstream media avoid reporting such cases, he denounced the Western media for mimicking what the U.S. government gives out.

Marandi then disputed the idea that Hashemi’s case is comparable to the case of an Iranian-British national who is in prison in Iran.

Although former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has effectively acknowledged that the arrested individual in Iran had broken the Iranian law, the Western media continue to campaign against Iran, he stressed.

MH/PA

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