African-American Press TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi has said public support definitely played a part in her release and vowed to further protest rights violations in the US.
“I just wanted to thank all of you for your prayers and your support. It has obviously been of utmost importance and definitely has played a part in my release,” said Hashemi in a filmed statement released on Thursday.
Hashemi further urged viewers to take part in protests planned on Friday, saying her case highlighted how citizen rights can be easily violated by the US government.
“It’s about the possibility of this happening to any person at any time in the United States; that they can be illegally detained and incarcerated without being charged, simply by saying that they are a material witness or so many other things,” said Hashemi.
“Once again, thank you all for all of your support,” she added.
The American-born anchor, who was released on Wednesday afternoon, said she will be staying in Washington DC to personally attend a planned Friday protest.
Global rallies will be held on Friday following the 11-day detention of Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi based on a controversial US legal code.
Hashemi, a 59-year-old Muslim convert who has lived in Iran for years, was detained at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri last Sunday while in the US to visit her ailing brother and other family members.
She was transferred to a detention facility in Washington, DC, where she was initially forced to remove her hijab and only offered non-halal food.
The US government said she had been arrested as a “material witness” in an unspecified criminal proceeding and that she faced no charges herself.
Hashemi was ultimately released after spending 10 days in prison and undergoing three grand jury hearings.
An Iranian television anchorwoman believes the U.S. government jailed her as a witness in order to send a message.
The Press TV anchor later commented that her detention was related to her beliefs and work as a journalist, adding that the ordeal was a deliberate government warning to “watch her step.”
Speaking during a video broadcast on Thursday, her son, Hossein, urged public protest over the ordeal as an instance of the government’s treatment of African Americans and Muslims.
“We want answers. We have so many concerns. If it’s possible for the FBI to detain somebody, with such a high profile, with impunity, then that could happen to any of us,” said Hossein.
“Every Muslim that you talk to has an FBI story and that’s not okay. Why is it that we are being treated as targets by the FBI?…Why is it that we can be detained, potentially indefinitely, without any charges?”