Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019 | Last Update : 12:57 AM IST

Free at last!

AP
Published : Jan 24, 2019, 4:26 pm IST
Updated : Jan 24, 2019, 4:26 pm IST

Iranian TV anchor held as witness is released from US jail.

Marzieh Hashemi, was detained by federal agents in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary. (Photo: AP)
 Marzieh Hashemi, was detained by federal agents in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary. (Photo: AP)

Washington: A prominent American-born anchorwoman on Iranian state television who was held in the US as a material witness was released from jail Wednesday evening.

Marzieh Hashemi, 59, was released from jail in Washington after being detained for 10 days, according to Abed Ayoub, an attorney with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Hashemi, who works for the Press TV network's English-language service, was detained by federal agents Jan 13 in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area, her son said. She was then transported to Washington and had remained behind bars since then.

Hashemi appeared at least twice before a US District judge in Washington, and court papers said she would be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury. Court documents did not include details on the criminal case in which she was named a witness.

Federal law allows judges to order witnesses to be detained if the government can prove that their testimony has extraordinary value for a criminal case and that they would be a flight risk and unlikely to respond to a subpoena. The statute generally requires those witnesses to be promptly released once they are deposed.

Hashemi is a US citizen and was born Melanie Franklin. She lives in Tehran and comes back to the United States about once a year to see her family, usually scheduling documentary work in the US, her son said.

Press TV issued a statement Wednesday, saying, "Marzieh Hashemi and her family will not allow this to be swept under the carpet. They still have serious grievances and want answers as to how this was allowed to happen. They want assurances that this won't happen to any Muslim – or any other person – ever again."

The network said Hashemi would remain in Washington for a protest Friday. Hashemi's detention comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal. Iran also faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual citizens and other people with Western ties.

Earlier Wednesday, dozens of activists protested outside the federal courthouse in Washington, where Hashemi was scheduled to appear before the grand jury. They held signs and chanted, "Free, free, Marzieh!" and "Shame, shame, USA!"

Tags: marzieh hashemi, black lives matter, american-arab anti-discrimination committee, press tv
Location: United States, Washington