Marzieh Hashemi - Melanie Franklin - NEWS TODAY

Marzieh Hashemi (Melanie Franklin), a natural-born citizen of the United States and a naturalized citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran was born on 21 December 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Marzieh Hashemi, an American-Iranian journalist and television presenter, is a prominent anchor for Iranian state-funded Press TV and serves as the editor-in-chief of Mahjubah magazine.

Marzieh Hashemi born into a Christian African-American family, later converted to Islam and moved to Iran after being inspired by the Iranian revolution. She lives in Tehran and comes back to the US about once a year to see her family, usually scheduling documentary work in the US, her son said.

Marzieh Hashemi with her son Hossein Hashemi

Hashemi has said the main reason for her conversion was the Iranian revolution and the character of Ayatollah Khomeini.

“When I was a student in America I witnessed that the Iranian students are so active and I was so interested in political activities then, I used to ask them about their activities and purposes, why you protest? And they used to talk about the cruelty of the overset king [sic] and Imam Khomeini to me, and this was the first step of me becoming Muslim. I was looking for the truth and I wasn’t satisfied with my own religion, and I had no solution for the problem that the God has three parts of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Spirit, But [sic] still were one? I wasn’t convinced with answers when I asked from different people, when this issue happened to be in university, I started to study not only about Islam but about different religions, and simultaneously comparing them in theory and ideology, from Marx [sic] Weber up to now, and thanks God, after I became Muslim.”

She changed her name to Marzieh Hashemi after conversion; Hashemi is her Muslim husband’s last name and she chose Marzieh, a title of Fatimah bint Muhammad, the daughter of Islamic Prophet.

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Marzieh Hashemi Arrest in the United States
Marzieh Hashemi was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on unspecified charges upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday 2019, her family and friends said.

At the request of the US Justice Department, Judge Beryl Alaine Howell, the chief district judge for the District of Columbia, issued a federal court order, approving the partial unsealing of the Press TV journalist’s case, Reuters reported.

According to the document, since her arrest, the journalist has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington and has been appointed a lawyer.

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The Associated Press said US government officials expected her to be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury, but Ms. Hashemi’s elder son, Hossein, was pessimistic about prospects for her immediate release, saying it was not clear yet how long his mother’s testimony would last.

“We’re hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So we’re just waiting to hear more.”

Hossein outside the court on Friday

However, the Friday court order did not include any details regarding the criminal case in which she has been named as a material witness.

The order said that Ms. Hashemi “has not been accused of any crime,” but she has said she was handcuffed and shackled and was treated like a criminal. The journalist has also said she had her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.

Reuters further quoted an unnamed US government source as claiming that it appeared the grand jury was examining whether Press TV is a “propaganda outlet” that failed to register with the Justice Department as an agent of a foreign government.

The Press TV anchor and producer, who returns periodically to the US to visit her family, had been working in St. Louis on a documentary about Black Lives Matter, an international activist movement originating in the African-American community that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people in the United States.

Marzieh Hashemi - Melanie Franklin - NEWS TODAY HEADLINE

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of the PEN America group promoting literature and free expression, says she is concerned Ms. Hashemi might have been targeted for her documentary for political reasons. “If there are other grounds for Hashemi’s detention they must be made clear, otherwise she should be released immediately,” Nossel added.

“Marzieh Hashemi’s perseverance has been remarkable in the midst of difficult circumstances, and it is my privilege to represent her. She is heartened by the many expressions of concern about her well-being, and we expect that she will soon return to her family, her home, and her career.”

Marzieh Hashemi’s attorney, Preston Burton

Marzieh Hashemi describes herself online as having studied journalism at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She married Hossein Hashemi, whom she had met while in journalism school at LSU. They had two sons and a daughter. Her husband is dead. She remains an American citizen, Franklin said.

“She is somebody who is harassed regularly. Every time she travels using air travel, she is pulled to the side. Each time it’s an hour-long, even two-hour-long interview, interrogation. This has been going on for almost a decade now.”

Marzieh Hashemi’s son Hussein Hashemi, a research fellow at the University of Colorado
  • Marzieh Hashemi Biography and Profile

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