A group of protesters from the Islamic Movement in Nigeria held a rally on Friday to condemn the US’ illegal detention of Press TV journalist Marzieh Hashemi, calling for her unconditional release.
In a short address to the rally, senior cleric Shaikh Sunusi AbdulKadir Koki expressed the Movement’s concern over the “very illegal act of kidnapping by a country which claims to be a role model of justice, upholding human rights of citizens and freedom,” a statement by the Movement said.
He also criticized the silence of the international community and human rights groups towards this “great injustice”, despite all the evidence available.
The cleric reminded the world that the act is a measure against all journalists, injustice to all women and Muslims and also an abuse of hijab, as she was reportedly forced to remove her head covering even though the authorities knew about her being a Muslim.
Ms. Hashemi, 59, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on unspecified charges upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, her family and friends said.
A court in the US confirmed the arrest on Friday as a material witness in an unspecified investigation.
She has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington and has been appointed a lawyer, the Associated Press reported.
It also said US government officials expected her to be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury, but Ms. Hashemi’s elder son, Hossein, was pessimistic about prospects for her immediate release, saying it was not clear yet how long his mother’s testimony would last.
“We’re hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” said Hossein, outside the court on Friday. “So we’re just waiting to hear more.”
The order, seen by Reuters, said that Ms. Hashemi “has not been accused of any crime.”
Reuters further quoted an unnamed US government source as claiming that it appeared the 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.