A US court has confirmed that Marzieh Hashemi, an American-born journalist who works for the Iranian state-owned media outlet Press TV, had been arrested in the US city of St. Lous and that she will be released after she testifies before a grand jury.
The court order said that Hashemi, who was born in the United States as Melanie Franklin, had been detained to give a testimony to a jury investigating unspecified “violations of US criminal law”.
The order specifically pointed out that “Franklin has been appointed an attorney and has not been accused of any crime”.
No date was given for the testimony and no information about the nature of the Hashemi case was revealed in the court filing.
The developments come after the Iranian government demanded the immediate release of Hashemi, adding that she was an Iranian citizen due to her marriage to an Iranian man.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced “the move by the US, which detained Marziyeh Hashemi illegally and inhumanely”, adding that “the US’ actions with regard to her are a direct violation of human rights”.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi specified that the journalist “has been unable to contact anyone for two days,” while the attitude toward her after the detention insults her as a Muslim.
Earlier, Press TV quoted Hashemi as saying she had been prohibited from wearing a Muslim hijab in prison and had been offered pork for her meal.
The news outlet reported that the 59-year-old was arrested at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday, when she came to the US to visit her family members, including her brother, who is suffering from cancer.
As a journalist, she has reported on such sensitive subjects as discrimination against women, Muslims, and African-Americans in the United States.