US Political Prisoner Marzieh Hashemi
A previous article discussed Marzieh’s unlawful arrest, detention, and mistreatment by the FBI. The Iranian Press TV journalist/anchor is a US citizen, in America from Tehran to visit family.
Held uncharged in Washington since last Sunday, she’ll appear in court before a grand jury on Friday, Press TV reported. According to her son Hossein, she was was detained as a material witness to a criminal case – meaning someone allegedly with pertinent significant information.
Whether true or false in her case, arresting, detaining, and abusing her is flagrantly unconstitutional. The Fourth Amendment assures “(t)he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
According to Cornell Law School, “(i)t protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.”
No probable cause, no grounds whatever, justified how Marzieh was mistreated – what’s required by the Fourth Amendment, “supported by oath or affirmation…”
If grounds for her arrest and detention exist, the law of the land requires they be clearly presented promptly. Nothing of the kind occurred, no explanation by the FBI, no justification for its unlawful action.
It’s America’s secret police, a rogue agency, a modern-day Gestapo, living up to its pure evil reputation, an enemy of the public, not its protector, serving privileged interests against beneficial social change.
Law Professor Ricardo Bascuas called Marzieh’s arrest a flagrant Fourth Amendment violation, saying the law of the land “makes it unconstitutional to detain any witness because, by definition, there is never ‘probable cause’ to believe a witness committed a crime,” adding:
“An unreasonable seizure is one that is irrational or arbitrary — i.e., based on hunches or gut feelings rather than facts. By definition, there is never good cause to believe a witness probably committed a crime. So, the Fourth Amendment plainly forbids arresting a witness.”
Breaching the law showed US authorities “are making up the rules as they go…Only the government knows whether a material witness is also a target, a suspect, a person of interest, or just someone they can’t rule out as one of those things.”
The US operates by its own rules, no others, doing whatever it pleases, flagrantly violating international, constitutional, and its own statute laws.
What happened to Marzieh can happen to anyone. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark once said “(o)ur jails are filled with saints.” Some of America’s best are ruthlessly persecuted and abused – including show trial injustice Chelsea Manning endured.
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:
“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his (or her) liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his (or her) arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges…
3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “(n)o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”
Under US law, the presumption of innocence is fundamental – unless or until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by public trial in an impartial court of law.
Whatever the disposition of Marzieh’s case ahead, her fundamental constitutional and international law rights were flagrantly violated. There’s no getting around that, no ambiguity about US ruthlessness.
On Wednesday, Marzieh’s son Hossein said the following:
“My name is Hossein Hashemi. I am the eldest son of Marzieh Hashemi, also known as Melanie Franklin.
I just want to give an update from where we stand. Currently, the information that is available to us is that she has been detained as a material witness.
There aren’t any charges against her. The officials have let us know that much in regard to her case. However, she is being detained in a Washington DC facility. It is a prison system. She has an inmate number and she is being held in a cell.
So, we have been very curious as to how someone who does not have any charges against them can be held in the circumstances. We were able to speak with her. My sister spoke with her last night.
This is over 48 hours since she was detained, since she was apprehended that we made contact with her. Up until that time, we had very little information even about the fact that there were no charges and so forth.
She seemed OK. She was upset about the kind of treatment that she was receiving as a person who (faces) charges would be treated.
She had only eaten pretzels because her dietary restrictions limited her from the kinds of food that the prison facility would offer.
She is also upset about the fact that her hijab was removed during processing and later on she was only able to cover her hair with a T-shirt apparently. So, these are the issues that she was upset about.
I think from our perspective obviously we want more clear answers. The fact that she has not been charged has made it difficult for us to know what kind of lawyers to pursue and what route forward we should go with, because lawyers have specialties and the fact that she hasn’t been charged makes it difficult. We have hard time understanding how someone who is not charged can be held in a facility like that.
I think it is important to know that she is an American citizen and she is a journalist. She is somebody who does documentaries on Black Lives Matters and is critical of a lot of the domestic policies of the United States government, the school-to-prison sort of pipeline, and the white community and also the wars abroad and the regime change policies that the United States enforces all the time and puts major budgets behind.
She is critical of all these things and that all plays into it. We don’t know whether those are the reasons for her apprehension, but it is difficult to not become sort of conspiratorial about what is going on with a person as high-profile as my mother.
Additionally, I and my siblings have also received subpoenas to appear before the grand jury in Washington, DC. So, that is also concerning. We don’t know what this is about yet, but we are trying to work it out and the main request we have is information to let us know what it is that she is being held for precisely and that will help us proceed in the correct way hopefully.”
Marzieh is one of countless thousands of US political prisoners, unjustly held and mistreated domestically and abroad – more evidence of a nation contemptuous of rule of law principles and fundamental human rights.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”