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    Iranian State TV Journalist’s Detainment Highlights US ‘Dictatorship’

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    On Sunday, Marzieh Hashemi, an American journalist who works for the Iranian state-owned outlet Press TV, was arrested and is being held without charge by the FBI.

    Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, joined Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear Wednesday to discuss Hashemi's arrest.

    ​Hashemi was first detained by the FBI when she was about to board a plane traveling from St. Louis, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado. She was then relocated to Washington, according to her son, Hossein Hashemi, who spoke to AP. 

    "We still have no idea what's going on," Hossein Hashemi, a research fellow at the University of Colorado, told AP, also adding that he and his siblings have been been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

    On Wednesday, Sputnik reached out to the FBI for comment regarding Hashemi's arrest. The FBI stated that it had no comment and redirected any questions to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice did not respond to Sputnik's request for comment.

    According to Hossein, his mother would have been "absolutely" willing to cooperate with the FBI, also adding that he doesn't have "any information" about whether she might be implicated in a crime.

    "With all the events happening in recent years, I really couldn't believe that the US is capable of behaving this badly," Shadjareh told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    "It's not just the fact that she [Hashemi] has been detained, but no charges have been brought against her, and also, she's been extremely badly treated. Her headscarf was forcibly removed, and she's been forced to wear just a T-shirt… they [FBI officials] refuse to give her halal food or vegetarian food. They are trying to force her to have pork, and this is appalling. This is so barbaric," Shadjareh added.

    "We've seen how the US has behaved so badly regarding prisoners and taking people without justification, but that was against non-US citizens on non-US soil. But here, an American citizen entering the US has to put up with this behavior. It really is shocking," he continued.

    According to Press TV, Hashemi told her daughter that she was "handcuffed and shackled and was being treated like a criminal" at the detention center, where she was also forced to remove her hijab and be photographed without it.

    Meanwhile, activists have launched a campaign to urge the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to intervene immediately in the detained journalist's case.

    Similarly, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has written to the UN Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention, urging the group to intervene in Hashemi's imprisonment. In addition, the Islamic Radio and Television Union also condemned her arrest, calling "on its member media outlets and the related international organizations for an exceptional attention to this cause, and granting special care in the context of protecting the freedom of journalism, press and journalists." 

    "There is a war being waged by the US government against [alternative] media," Becker said.

    "You mentioned alternative news sources," Shadjareh noted.

    "But [US President Donald] Trump even bullies CNN. He doesn't like anyone saying anything which is contradictory to his lies and tweets. If [the US media] manages to silence opposition… then we are going to see a real sort of dictatorship taking place, and people are going to be bullied and mistreated. I am very shocked that we are not seeing all media coming out, saying, ‘We all have different angles but we have one thing in common, and that is the right and freedom of reporting and having the right to differ in our interpretation,'" Shadjareh added.


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