The United States arrested Iranian presenter Marzieh Hashemi without any charges. She was forced to remove her headscarf and served pork as a meal.
The United States arrested a U.S. born journalist working for Iran’s state media Press TV on unspecified charges, the media house said Wednesday.
Marzieh Hashemi, 59, was arrested as soon as she arrived at St. Louis Lambert International airport, Missouri, Sunday and transferred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to a detention facility in Washington.
Marzieh, born Melanie Franklin, was visiting her ailing family in the country.
“PressTV would like to hereby express its strong protest at the recent apprehension and violent treatment of Ms. Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin in the United States, who is currently serving as an anchor for the English-language television news network,” said the media organization.
According to the Iranian media, she was not allowed to contact anyone for the first two days.
"Her relatives were unable to contact her, and she was allowed to contact her daughter only two days after her arrest," Press TV reported.
Marzieh told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled but no charges against her were made public.
She was reportedly denied from observing her faith. Her hijab (headscarf) was forcefully removed, and she was served pork, which is prohibited in Islam.
“Ms. Hashemi has had nothing to eat other than a packet of crackers since her apprehension. The resulting malnutrition, compounded by cold weather conditions, has made her weak and infirm,” Press TV reported.
"We condemn the illegal arrest of Marzieh Hashemi, the reporter, and presenter of Press TV, and the inhumane treatment of her in jail in Washington," Bahram Qasemi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.
The Press TV also demanded her release saying, “We, further, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms. Hashemi, and for the US government to apologize to both the journalist and the international media community for her treatment.”