Jan 19, 2019, 3:04 PM
News Code: 83176324
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Iran's news anchor not charged with any crimes: US officials

Tehran, Jan 19, IRNA – The US federal officials have announced that the Iranian news anchor Marzieh Hashemi has been imprisoned just as a material witness and faces no charges.

According to Associated Press (AP) on Saturday, the American officials stated that Hashemi, the US-born journalist who is based in Iran as a host and anchor for the international news network PressTV, has appeared in court twice since being arrested last Sunday but 'has not been charged with any crime.'

According to a federal court order unsealed on Friday, the news agency reported, Hashemi was arrested in the United States as a material witness in an undisclosed investigation.

The journalist was arrested at the St. Louis airport on Sunday and was transferred by the F.B.I. to Washington, the PressTV said.

The Associated Press further said that 'American officials had not confirmed her detention until Friday, when Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered some details about her arrest unsealed.'

'The court order said that Ms. Hashemi, 59, had been arrested on a material witness warrant and was not accused of any crime. She had made two court appearances, it said, and American authorities expected her to be released after her testimony before a grand jury investigating violations of U.S. criminal law.”

Though the order said a lawyer had been appointed for Ms. Hashemi, none was named, the AP wrote.

Though the US government officials expect Hashemi to be released immediately after she testifies before a grand jury, it remains unclear how long the process will take.

The US-born PressTV anchor arrived in St. Louis Lambert International Airport last Sunday to visit her cancer-stricken brother and other family members, but wound up being arrested by FBI agents to be transferred to a detention center in Washington, DC, a move which provoked a barrage of criticism at US administration.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday expressed concern in a statement on the case, calling on the US Justice Department to provide grounds for arresting the journalist.

Her elder son, Hussein announced on Thursday that he and his siblings were subpoenaed to testify at court.

Iran's Muslim anchorwoman told family members she was subjected to abusive and inappropriate behavior, with her hijab forcibly removed and being denied halal food (food permitted by the Islamic law).

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Wednesday condemned the US arrest of the Iran-based journalist (Melanie Franklin) and called for her immediate and unconditional release.

The unexpected arrest of a US Muslim citizen and humiliating her and the inhuman behavior of the US government's white-collars in encountering her should be regarded as blatant misconduct of an apartheid regime with its white people, he said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif too has called for her immediate release .

'The custody of Iran's reporter in the US is highly political and she should be released immediately,' Zarif said.
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