Journalist Support Committee: USA must release journalist Marzieh Hashemi detained on unspecified charges and maltreated
Marzieh Hashemi is a US citizen, she works for the Iranian English language television network Press TV as a presenter. She was detained on arrival at St Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri, USA. The FBI have transferred her to a detention facility in Washington, D.C. No reason for her detention has been provided to her or her family.
Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin, is a convert to Islam and has been living in Iran. She has been maltreated on the basis of her religion, with her hijab forcibly removed on arrival at prison. The only meal she was provided contained pork, which is not halal and in accordance with Islamic law she refused to eat it. According to her daughter all she has eaten in the last two days is a packet of crackers because she has been denied any vegetarian or halal food, or even bread.
The United States of America must release Marzieh Hashemi who is suffering a clear violation of human rights on the basis of unspecified charges. This is an assault on freedom of expression, undoubtedly her profession and her religion have come into play as US authorities continue to treat her in such an inhumane and degrading manner.
The Journalist Support Committee calls on the international community to speak out against the maltreatment of Marzieh Hashemi which is indicative of a worrying trend in this current Trump administration towards increased persecution of journalists. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicates that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Unfortunately in this case Hashemi's inalienable right to freedom of expression has been seriously violated by the US authorities.
The International Declaration on the Protection of Journalists recognises that “all members of the international community shall fulfil, jointly and separately, their solemn obligation to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including freedom of expression and media freedom, without distinction of any kind, including distinctions based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, and reaffirming the particular importance of achieving international cooperation to fulfil this obligation according to the UN Charter.”
The Journalist Support Committe asks the United States government to uphold their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the International Declaration on the Protection of Journalists and to thereby release Marzieh Hashemi whose detention is unjust and without reason.
Journalist Support Committee - Switzerland
16 January 2019