06:22 GMT +324 July 2019
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    This undated photo provided by Iranian state television's English-language service, Press TV, shows its American-born news anchor Marzieh Hashemi

    Arrest of Iran's Press TV Journo in St. Louis Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent'

    © AP Photo / Press TV
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    Nargess Moballeghi, an independent journalist and former colleague of detained Press TV journalist Marzieh Hashemi, told Sputnik on Tuesday that Hashemi's recent incarceration is likely to set a "very dangerous precedent for journalists" moving forward.

    Hashemi was detained by US authorities on January 13 at Missouri's St. Louis Lambert International Airport while preparing to board a flight to Denver. The Iran-based journalist was reportedly in the US to work on a documentary regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The partial unsealing of an order on Hashemi revealed Friday that the Louisiana native had been arrested on a material arrest warrant in a Washington, DC, case, and that she would be released immediately following the completion of her testimony.

    "She's been incarcerated since the 13th of January now, and we have more questions than we did to begin with and still very little answers," Moballeghi told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear. "We know now that she's being detained without charge on the very controversial material witness law, but why, we do not know."

    "There are no details about what this grand jury is about, very little detail coming out at all," she continued, noting that Hashemi's three kids have also received subpoenas. "It's really unprecedented and… setting a very dangerous precedent for journalists."

    Hashemi's arrest has been widely condemned by Iranian officials and advocacy groups alike. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated the detainment was an "unacceptable political act that tramples on freedom of speech."

    Citing court documents, CNN reported that Hashemi has been appointed an attorney and that she has made two appearances in federal court since she was arrested.

    Moballeghi told host Brian Becker that authorities initially deprived Hashemi of her hijab, but she has once again been allowed to wear the religious head covering as a result of increased media coverage on her detention.

    "Unfortunately even very much across the board of our journalistic colleagues in the international media and the mainstream media, we are seeing, I think, a disparity comparative to if this was a journalist who was working for another outlet that happened to be somewhere else in the world, even if that outlet was state-owned," she said.

    "It's think it's really unfair."

    Most recently, AP reported on Tuesday that Iran's Foreign Ministry had summoned officials with the Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, over Hashemi's detention. Press TV reported Tuesday that Hashemi is expected to appear before a grand jury on Wednesday.


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    Press TV, Iran, Marzieh Hashemi, United States
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