High-Profile Human Rights Groups Fail to Condemn Unlawful US Mistreatment of Marzieh Hashemi

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High-Profile Human Rights Groups Fail to Condemn Unlawful US Mistreatment of Marzieh Hashimi

by Stephen Lendman

The silence of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, and other high-profile human rights groups over Mazieh’s unlawful arrest, detention and abusive treatment by the FBI is deafening.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stopped short of condemnation, “express(ing) concern” alone about what’s happening to Marzieh, failing to denounce her lawless mistreatment.

CPJ North America program coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck’s statement was woefully inadequate, saying “(w)e are concerned by the arrest of a journalist for Iranian state TV, Marzieh Hashemi, and call on the US Department of Justice to immediately disclose the basis for her detention.”

Marzieh is a Tehran-based Press TV journalist/anchor. The operation is an English-language Islamic Republic Broadcasting (IRIB) division – an invaluable public service, featuring truth-telling on vital issues, what’s absent in Western mainstream media – what CPJ failed to explain along with not demanding Marzieh’s unconditional release.

It shamefully accused Iran of “routinely jail(ing) journalists,” adding “journalists who have dual citizenship face special risks working in Iran” – a bald-faced Big Lie.

Marzieh has dual US/Iranian citizenship. After converting to Islam, she left America for Iran, treated respectfully, never abused, unlike how US authorities mistreat Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and others.

Democracy Now (DN) is beholden to its corporate funders, notably George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and other establishment groups.

DN’s Amy Goodman disgracefully called for regime change in Syria, supporting US imperial aims in the country, falsely blaming government forces for high crimes committed by US-supported jihadists and Pentagon-led terror-bombing.

DN failed to condemn Marzieh’s unlawful arrest, detention and mistreatment, reporting only the following on January 18, five days after her arrest, silence before that, saying:

“An American journalist and news anchor for Iran’s state television network Press TV is due in a Washington, DC, courtroom today, after she was arrested and detained by the FBI during a visit to the United States.” 

“Marzieh Hashemi, who’s a US citizen who lives in Tehran, was arrested at the St. Louis airport Sunday and then transferred to a prison in Washington, DC, according to her son.”

Not a word about the violation of her international and constitutional law rights, nothing about her mistreatment, silence about unacceptable US hostility toward Iran, her targeting directly related to Trump regime actions against the country and opposition to Press TV truth-telling.

Reuters reported that the news operation may be charged with being a propaganda outlet (how US authorities describe all truth-telling media), along with failing to register with the Justice Department as an agent of a foreign government.

It operates in Iran, not America, viewers connected online able to follow its reporting and special programs – journalism the way it’s supposed to be, why Washington opposes its work.

If the Reuters report is accurate, Marzieh’s safety and well-being may be jeopardized. She could be falsely charged with operating as a foreign agent or anything else US authorities might cook up. 

The same goes for other truth-telling journalist/critics of US domestic and foreign policies, wanting them punished for being on the right side of major issues – or connected to a nation Washington targets for regime change.

Speech, media, academic, and other fundamental freedoms are eroding in America, police state injustice replacing them.

Anti-war or global justice demonstrations, environmental or animal rights activism, justifiable civil disobedience, resisting growing tyranny, and dissent of any kind may be called domestic terrorism under a USA Patriot Act provision.

These are very troubling times. Washington’s so-called global war on terrorism is war OF it on humanity – including against nations on its target list for regime change and its citizens like Marzieh.

It’s the wrong time to be on the right side of supporting peace, equity and justice, of being Muslim when America is at war on predominantly Islamic countries, of wanting real democracy, not the US fantasy version.

On January 21, eight days after Marzieh’s arrest and detention, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) broke its silence about what happened, a statement saying RSF “condemns the detention without charge in the United States of Marzieh Hashemi, a journalist with US and Iranian dual citizenship who is a news presenter for Press TV, an Iranian government-run English-language propaganda outlet.”

Every human rights group everywhere should issue similar remarks, supporting Marzieh and everyone else mistreated the same way – in America and elsewhere.

Marzieh appeared in court on Friday. On Wednesday, she’ll again testify before a grand jury – without legal counsel with her while appearing as a witness in a criminal case she may know nothing about. 

Proceedings are secret. In America, anything said can be twisted, misinterpreted, and used against individuals unjustly.

Currently uncharged, US authorities may use her testimony unjustly against her. According to her son Hussain, she was transferred to solitary confinement, a worrisome sign.

Held on the pretext of being a material witness in an unexplained criminal case her family members know nothing about, Marzieh’s fate remains unclear.

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani denounced her mistreatment, saying “(t)his is the first time that I hear a country detains its own national – who is only a witness – in her own homeland without there being any fear about her possible flight from the country,” adding:

Iranian officials will do all they can to defend Marzieh’s fundamental rights until she’s released and free to come home.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.