The Islamic Movement in Nigeria finds it appalling to learn that Press TV anchor, Marzieh Hashemi was kidnapped from St Louis Airport on January 13 as she arrived to visit her sick brother and other members of her family including her daughter. The FBI took her to Washington DC and did not allow her to contact her family for more than two days. When she finally contacted her daughter, she gave a harrowing account of her ordeal. Her hijab was forcibly removed, she was denied proper clothing required of a Muslim woman and refused proper halal food. She was given pork to eat, which as a committed Muslimah, she flatly refused to touch, as required by her religion.
What on earth has she committed that warrants this maltreatment by the US authorities? She has not been charged with any crime—what possible crime could a TV anchor commit? Yet she has been locked up in a prison cell as a common criminal and given a prisoner number. And as at the time of writing this press statement, all that a court in Washington could say of her detention is that she is a ‘material witness’ in an unspecified investigation.
It is disheartening the way various Western bodies that claim to protect the rights of journalists have remained silent in the case of Marzieh Hashemi. So far, there has been deafening silence from these self-styled champions of free speech.
Meanwhile, there has been strong reaction in the social media to Marzieh Hashemi’s kidnap and detention by the FBI. People have roundly condemned such brazen disregard for the rights of a US citizen. We advise people to write to their political representatives, media outlets and human rights organisations to bring awareness to this case and demand her immediate release.
By this arrest and continued detention, the US is portraying itself as an outlaw regime, while it presents itself to the world as if it is governed by the rule of law. The murder of another Journalist, Khashoggi remains fresh in our mind. If the Saudis will be castigated for not following due process, why should the Trumps in the US government not be so accused in this brazen arbitrary arrest of Marzieh Hashemi? We therefore unequivocally call for her unconditional release from detention.
We are also urging everyone to please intensify efforts in Prayers, Tweets & even possible rallies and street actions, demanding for her immediate & unconditional release.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria will forever be grateful to Marzieh Hashemi, who has also been very influential for the increased rate, scope and magnitude of how Press TV covers issues related to Shaikh Zakzaky, his wife and the Islamic Movement in general. She was so determined to visit Nigeria for a Special Documentary on Sheikh Zakzaky and the Islamic Movement before this crude detention.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA