Thu, 22 Aug 2019

A U.S.-born Iranian television anchor who has been jailed in the United States has not been accused of any crime, according to federal court documents.

Marzieh Hashemi has been detained as a material witness, though it is unclear for which case, the documents, made public on January 18, show.

Hashemi works for Irans state-run English-language Press TV news channel. Her son says she was detained by federal agents on January 13 in St. Louis, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary.

She was then transported to Washington and has been in custody since then.

Officials said she was expected to be released immediately after her testimony is completed, but it's not clear when that would be.

Iran has called for her immediate release. The FBI and Justice Department have not commented publicly on her case.

A U.S. government source told Reuters it appeared that a 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.

Press TV has said that Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the United States and changed her name after converting to Islam.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying that Hashemi received Iranian citizenship after marrying an Iranian.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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