Using hashtags that quickly went viral, #FreeMarzieHashemi and # Pray4MaziehHashemi, Iranians called for a march next Friday at New York's Grand Central Station. The demonstrators will demand that the FBI free Hashemi who works with Iranian state media Press TV.
Marzieh Hashemi, 59, was arrested as soon as she arrived at Missouri's St. Louis Lambert International airport on Jan. 13 and transferred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to a detention facility in Washington.
Her arrest was made public two days later. According to the Iranian media, she was not allowed to contact anyone for the first two days.
Marzieh told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled but no charges against her were made public.
What if all the memes, stories, opinions you've expressed and shared over the past decade could be used against you by the government and future administrations? What if the government could hold you, without charge, indefinitely, because you spoke out? #freemarziehashemipic.twitter.com/YoILCWxbt2
She was reportedly denied from observing her faith. Her hijab (headscarf) was forcefully removed, and she was served pork, which is prohibited in Islam.
After a few days, it was conveyed by the U.S. authorities that she was arrested as a material witness and has not been accused of any crimes. She will be released after she testifies before "a grand jury investigating violations of U.S. criminal law," a court document said Friday.
Hashemi has produced documentaries criticizing U.S.Middle East policies as well as its treatment of Muslims and African-Americans.
“The arrest of Marzieh Hashemi by America is an unacceptable political act that tramples on freedom of speech,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday.
A group of Iranians protested Sunday outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran which represents the interests of the United States in the absence of a U.S. embassy there.