U.S. confirms detention of journalist working for Iran's Press TV

U.S. confirms detention of journalist working for Iran's Press TV

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement bodies refused to comment, declining to say whether she was even in their custody.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement early Friday expressing concern over Marzieh Hashemi's case and asked the Justice Department to disclose the reason for her arrest.

Federal law permits the government to detain witnesses under court order in certain circumstances.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called on USA government agencies to explain the reasons behind Hashemi's detention.

Hashemi, a prominent anchor for Iranian state-funded Press TV, was arrested Sunday at the St. Louis global airport, where she was filming a documentary on Black Lives Matter, the Iranian broadcaster and her family said. She was then transported to Washington and apparently is being held in the D.C. Jail, her family said.

'We're hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. 'So we're just waiting to hear more'.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On January 18, the Department of Justice sent CPJ an unsealing order confirming that Hashemi is a material witness in a criminal proceeding and that she has not been charged with a crime.

Hossein Hashemi, son of Marizeh Hashemi, leaves federal court in Washington on Friday.

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Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the USA and changed her name after converting to Islam, according to news reports.

Material witness warrants were used to detain possible witnesses or suspects after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and witnesses were often released soon after their testimony was heard.

American-born news anchor Marzieh Hashemi sits in a studio in Tehran where she works for Iran's state television.

Hossein said he, his brother and his sister were also subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.

"The custody of Iran's reporter in the highly political and she should be released immediately", Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison, making him the first American known to be detained there under President Trump's administration, according to the Associated Press. The group's statement noted that "Iran routinely jails journalists".

Federal officials have not commented about the case.