US authorities arrest Muslim-American journalist without charge

Press TV journalist Marzieh Hashemi
Afroze Zaidi-Jivraj

On Wednesday 16 January, Press TV reported that US authorities had arrested one of its journalists, Marzieh Hashemi, without charge. Hashemi is a US citizen who was reportedly visiting her family. She was taken into custody at St Louis International Airport on 13 January; but the media outlet says the FBI has now moved her to a detention centre in Washington DC:

Human rights violations

According to Press TV, the Associated Press has received no response to its request for a statement on Hashemi’s arrest from the FBI. Meanwhile, the hashtag #FreeMarziehHashemi is gaining strength as people voice their concerns over her arrest and harsh treatment:

Also, as Hashemi is a US citizen, many are pointing out that the authorities are violating her constitutional rights. They have held Hashemi without charge and denied her due legal process. Moreover, they face accusations of forcibly removing her headscarf and only offering her food that does not comply with her religious beliefs:

Freedom of the press

With Hashemi’s position as a prominent journalist in the international community, many perceive her arrest as a clear restriction of press freedom:

A Black, Muslim woman against the establishment

It also hasn’t gone unnoticed that, as a Black, Muslim woman, Hashemi is an obvious target. Her treatment suggests a combination of both Islamophobia and misogynoir, a form of oppression that Black women uniquely face.

Indeed, Islamophobia has been embedded in US policy ever since the ‘Muslim ban’ that Donald Trump introduced in 2017. And Hashemi has strong links to Iran, which is on the list of ‘banned’ countries:

While the length and reasons for Hashemi’s detention are unknown, her family will remain concerned for her safety. Hashemi’s arrest and apparently poor treatment go against principles of justice and human rights enshrined in both the US constitution and international law. It’s clear, however, that as the US authorities continue to detain a journalist without charge, support for her will keep gaining momentum.

Featured image via Twitter/Press TV

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