US, Western countries systematically targeting Muslims, blacks: Marzieh Hashemi

Tehran: The recently released Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi, who was detained by the US for 10 days talked to reporters about her days in detention without any charge.

Hashemi arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Wednesday night. She is an American-born Muslim convert who has lived in Iran for years. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detained her at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri on January 13 when she arrived in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members.

Reading a statement on Saturday, Marzieh Hashemi expressed gratitude to Press TV staff, Iranian officials and tens of thousands of people across the world, whom she never met, who mobilized to raise awareness of her imprisonment.

Criticising ill-treatment meted out to her in the prison, she slammed the US for the so-called material witness law that allows detention of innocent people without any charges. She claimed that rights organizations and even the United States’ own court of laws have called the law “unconstitutional and illegal.”

Talking about reasons behind her imprisonment, Hashemi said there was nothing significant or specific about it and that it was merely “a fishing expedition.” She added that “it was just a matter of trying to intimidate me.”

It must be recalled that Hashemi was released on January 23 after some 10 days of detention without charge at a Washington, DC.

Recounting her ordeal during her time in jail and mistreatment by the American justice system, Hashemi said, while in detention, she was forced to remove her hijab and was only offered non-halal food. She added, “I was imprisoned and treated like a criminal under this law without a single charge.” She claimed that the law uses “false, flimsy or irrelevant evidence to secure arrest warrants against Muslims.”

Hashemi changed her name from Melanie Franklin after converting to Islam. She works as an anchor for Iran’s English-language television station Press TV.