Hawzah News Agency (Tehran, Iran) - In a meeting organized by the association on Wednesday, the strong protest of Iranian media outlets, journalists and activists over the ''illegal arrest and imprisonment'' of Marzieh Hashemi by the FBI officers was expressed.
Among the keynote speakers were Iranian filmmaker and commentator Nader Talebzadeh, Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, and Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, a political analyst in Tehran.
- American Arrogance
At the meeting, Nader Talebzadeh slammed Marzieh Hashemi's detainment as a ''straightforward result of American arrogance.'' He also noted that the ''US would probably pay for this dearly.
''Hashemi exemplifies very stern beliefs of what happened in 1979 (Islamic) Revolution in Iran,'' he added.
According to Talebzadeh who is Marzieh Hashemi's husband, Ms. Hashemi had many difficulties every time she went to the US, as she was cross-examined very tensely in the customs and was detained for hours.
''Her detention is the direct result of a lot of thinking and think tanks,'' he added, describing it as part of a broader plot to intimidate Iran and those who stand for the Islamic Revolution.
He finally expressed the hope that the anchorwoman would return with victory and also shamefulness for the American government.“
Such detainments would be costly for the US government,'' he concluded.
- Violation of Human Right
Meantime, Khoshcheshm noted that Ms. Hashemi is held illegally in the United States, adding ,"This shows, for sure, to be a flagrant violation of human rights, a violation of domestic rights, a violation of freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.
"There is no doubt about that. Despite the fact that the United States is trying hard to show that this is a legal move done by the US, despite the fact that they (Americans)… never accounted for the reason and the cause of her arrest, they eventually mentioned that she was in custody as a material witness, still as they, themselves, admit this has been the exercise of a very rare law.
"That means that they do not usually do that. Why would they do that to her now?" Khoshcheshm asked, and added, "Irrespective of her nationality, color, gender even her profession and career, the very simple fact that she has been held in custody under a very rare law requires elaboration and explanation by the US, very simply.
"They should have accounted for their action and the fact that they do not see themselves duty-bound to elaborate on the cause of her arrest or to present more elaboration and explanations to the public, to her family at least, shows why the Iranian people call the US an arrogant entity.
This case shows how they feel contempt for others for anyone, even Americans who move against the United States' hegemonic policies that they may not tolerate anyone who is thinking independent from the US hegemonic foreign policies.
"The Iranian analyst further noted that Marzieh Hashemi's case also proves that human rights or notions like human rights, democracy, freedom of the press, as well as freedom of expression, they all matter when they are in alliance with the US agenda.
He further noted that the way the American authorities are treating Marzieh Hashemi shows that they are angry at Iran and the Iranian people and they are showing maximum fury and this time she happens to be the victim or this means to be a message to Iran and Iranian media outlets that a war is coming not a war in a military sense."We are talking about soft warfare that has always been on the way.
They have always running propaganda against the Islamic Republic since the onset of the revolution back in 1979.
This is what they do to all alternative media outlets so Al Jazeera should be alerted. TRT, RT, CGTN, everyone in this world who might happen to think different from the US should be alerted and should show reaction.""This bullying is, of course, addressed at the Iranian nation and its media outlets and the state but is not just limited to them.
Believe or not, this will happen to them, I mean, Al Jazeera has already come under attack by the Saudis so harshly. So this might happen again," he reiterated.
Zero Expectation from Western MediaAlso
In the meeting, Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, said he has no expectations from the Western media when it comes to Marzieh Hashemi’s case.
He said a former Press TV reporter once had information that foreign intelligence services were aiding ISIS and al-Qaeda, but she was threatened by an intelligence agency.
According to Marandi, the late journalist reported the story online to Marzieh Hashemi, and hours later, she was murdered in Turkey, while the US government did nothing to pursue the case.
As another instance of Western media’s silence on detention of journalists, Marandi pointed to the case of professor Sami al-Arian, a Palestinian American academic, who after 9/11 attacks was accused by the US government of various crimes, served prison term in solitary confinement, and was expelled from the US and stripped of his American citizenship.
Marandi denounced the Western media for mimicking what the US government gives out.
He noted that in Gaza, where many medics or reporters are shot dead by snipers, the Western media, like BBC, claim that they are Palestinians killed in Israeli clashes.
The Iranian scholar said his expectations from the Western media are “very low” when it comes to the case of Marzieh Hashemi, “almost Zero.
”Marandi then disputed the notion by some saying that Hashemi’s case is comparable to the case of an Iranian-British national who is arrested in Iran.
He said although former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has effectively acknowledged that the arrested individual in Iran had broken the Iranian law, the Western media continue to campaign against Iran.
In Hashemi’s case, there is subtle antagonism and Western media try to talks about someone abnormal in her case, Marandi deplored.He finally called on the Iranian and international journalists to put pressure on the US to release the jailed journalist.
- Upcoming RalliesMeantime,
several rallies are scheduled to be held in 24 cities across the globe on Friday, January 25, to demand the release of the news anchor, who has been detained and held in the United States for 11 days so far without charge.The FBI has repeatedly declined to comment on her arrest. But the US government has confirmed that she has been arrested as a “material witness.
” She appeared in a court on Friday for a second time and is slated to appear before a grand jury on Wednesday, January 23.
The court has also appointed her an attorney.Under “18 U.S. Code § 3144,” an individual whose testimony is deemed material to a criminal proceeding can be forcefully seized and held indefinitely if he/she is considered a “flight risk .
”Hashemi’s family have highlighted that law as “controversial” and “a legal loophole,” and have asked people who will rally on the designated date to also protest against it.“This is not just about our mother. Her case highlights a larger constitutionally legitimized process by way of which people who have not committed a crime can be put in prison through legal means.
They can be kept in prison for an indefinite period of time, and all of this is deemed legal and legitimate under US law,” Hashemi’s family argued.“We believe that it is imperative, especially for marginalized people in the United States of America to understand these controversial laws pertaining to being a ‘material witness’ and other laws that can lead to our detention even if we have done nothing wrong.”