Iran’s American-born journalist detained by FBI to appear in US court — Iranian state TV

Iran called for the immediate release of the journalist who was detained by FBI on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Iran’s American-born journalist detained by FBI to appear in US court — Iranian state TV

  • The journalist’s employer, English-speaking channel Press TV, says she was arrested by FBI on Sunday
  • The Iranian state-run channel says the journalist was detained on unspecified charges

DUBAI: An American journalist working for Iran’s state television channel Press TV who Iran says has been detained in Washington will appear in a US court on Friday, the channel reported on Friday.
Iran has called for the immediate release of TV anchor and documentary film maker Marziyeh Hashemian, whose employer, the English-language channel Press TV, said was arrested on Sunday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
The FBI has not commented on the case.
“Marzieh Hashemi, detained by the FBI on unspecified charges, is due to appear in a Washington, DC, court on Friday,” the state-run Press TV reported, without elaborating.
The broadcaster on Wednesday quoted Hashemi’s son as saying that the 59-year-old journalist, who had been living in Iran for more than a decade, was detained as a “material witness” to a criminal case and no formal charges had been made against her.
US Federal law allows the government to arrest and detain a witness if it can prove that their testimony is material to a criminal proceeding and that it cannot guarantee their presence through a subpoena.
According to Press TV, Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the United States and changed her name after converting to Islam. She had traveled to the United States to visit her family, the channel said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the arrest a “violation of freedom of speech and unacceptable.”
“She is the wife of an Iranian citizen and we see it as our duty to defend the rights of our citizens” Zarif told Iran’s Arabic-language state broadcaster Al-Alam news channel.
In a statement on Friday, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Justice Department to disclose the reason for Hashemi’s arrest.
CPJ said in the statement that “Iran routinely jails journalists, with at least eight behind bars in relation to their work when CPJ conducted its annual global prison census in December.”
Tensions have been high between Iran and the United States since US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Several Iranian dual nationals from the United States, Britain, Austria, Canada and France have been detained in the past years in Iran and are being kept behind bars on charges including espionage and collaborating with hostile governments.


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 1 sec ago
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.