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Chilean AFEP’s president slams US imprisonment of Press TV anchor

Chile’s Association of the Relatives of Executed Political Prisoners (Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Políticos) says the detention of Press TV news presenter Marzieh Hashemi, who has been imprisoned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on unspecified charges, is appalling.

Speaking to Iran’s Spanish-language television channel, Hispan TV, on Saturday, Alicia Lira Matus, the AFEP’s president, said the association condemned the US ill-treatment of Hashemi, particularly when she was forced to remove her Hijab (the head covering for Muslim women).

Matus said the US would have adopted a quite different attitude if such an incident had happened to another American journalist, adding that although Hashemi is an American-born journalist, she opposes US policies.

She noted that American officials claim to advocate freedom of expression but they have punished everyone who opposed US repression in their country or other countries across the world.

AFEP’s president said she was embarrassed that Chilean officials followed the US and did whatever Washington dictated to them.

Due to double standard polices, Chilean journalists are not allowed to cover such tragic and important news items just like the incidents inside their own country that Chilean people are not aware of, she added.

Matus expressed sympathy with the jailed Press TV anchor and said despite different cultures, she felt duty-bound to defend freedom of expression, respect basic rights of individuals and oppose the US aggressive policies.

Hashemi, a 59-year-old US citizen who has been living in Iran for years, was detained last week while she was in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members.

After days of silence, the US government confirmed Friday that it had been holding Hashemi in jail since Sunday as a “material witness” and that she would be released after she testified before a grand jury.

Her elder son Hossein, however, said she was unlikely to be freed soon. So far, the Press TV news presenter has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington.

In a message released on Saturday, Hashemi’s family and friends called for her immediate release.

They said that she must be freed forthwith and be treated as an ordinary witness given her cooperation with US judicial authorities and the absence of any charges against her.

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