The FBI Stays Silent After Detaining an American News Anchor for a Week

Marzieh Hashemi's family was largely kept in the dark during her detention.



An American anchorwoman for Iran state television was recently arrested, and later released, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI has remained silent on the details surrounding Marzieh Hashemi's arrest.

Born Melanie Franklin in New Orleans, Hashemi has been employed with Iran state television's English-language service for 25 years. Hashemi now lives in Tehran and returns to the United States about once a year for personal trips to see family. During her most recent visit, Hashemi visited family in New Orleans. She then made her way to St. Louis. On January 13, the FBI arrested Hashemi and took her as a material witness to a detention center in Washington, D.C.

Hashemi's family, her son included, was kept in the dark about her detention. Milton Leroy Franklin, Hashemi's brother, said that her son was kept in a hotel at the time by the FBI after being arrested alongside his mother. He also expressed that the family was unable to contact Hashemi.

While detained, Hashemi was reportedly denied Halal food and her hijab was forcibly removed. She also appeared before a federal grand jury at least twice. Because of the alleged treatment and the lack of criminal charges, supporters believe that her First Amendment freedom of religion and press were violated. Supporters have also taken issue with the decision to arrest her in exchange for her testimony in an unspecified case. However, federal judges currently reserve the right to detain witnesses if a testimony is highly valuable and the person is suspected to be a flight risk.

Hashemi was released from prison on Wednesday evening. Multiple outlets have reported that the FBI did not respond to inquiries for further details.

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  1. Course they’re silent. The PR person is furloughed.

  2. Because of course there’s absolutely nothing whatsoever even the slightest bit strange or suspicious about someone born in the U.S. going to work for Iranian state television.

    My reaction to this “story”: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    1. She’s an American citizen, you know.

      1. Yeah, I saw that part. She’s still work for an enemy government that we have sanctions on. Of course she’s going to arouse the suspicion of the feds!

      2. Is there any proof that she was not held for valid reasons?

        1. Is there evidence she was held for valid reasons?

          WTF are you authoritarian Trump idiots doing on Reason?

          1. Poor trolls love Reason discussions.

  3. Disingenuous headline is disingenuous.

    1. “Disingenuous headline is disingenuous.”

      No shit. What’s with the Click Bait headline Reason? Appeals to emotion shouldn’t be your trademark move.

    2. I see she was released. Where’s her release of the events? I’ve been guvmint screwed and I’ll tell everybody (and hope the ye of sauron misses me for doing os). Is there more to the story?

  4. Well, the media’s been saying for the past two years that the FBI are dedicated public servants of impeccable character, so whatever they did, it must be OK. The claim that they may have done something wrong here sounds quite Trumpian.

  5. She’s a CIA agent.

    Its an American who has been “employed with Iran state television’s English-language service for 25 years. Hashemi now lives in Tehran and returns to the United States about once a year for personal trips to see family.”

    In the USA we have a right to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses for court proceedings.
    Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    An arrest warrant would not be appropriate since she was charged with criminal violations. Evidently she was integral as a court witness. The state should have to explain publicly why though.

    This BS about the SCOTUS hearing a sealed appeal should never happen. All court proceedings should be public.

  6. “Hashemi was reportedly denied Halal food and her hijab was forcibly removed.”

    The horror!

    1. I bet those ruthless bastards don’t have kosher food on the menu either.

    2. A guy would have been strip searched and cavity searched, deloused, hosed and allowed to freeze for a bit, slapped around, deprived of food and water, deprived of sleep and you would be lucky if you ever saw him again. And America would say, “he must have deserved it”.

  7. The FBI has remained silent on the details surrounding Marzieh Hashemi’s arrest.

    Maybe they were doing it out of respect for her privacy, since she wasn’t convicted yet of anything.

  8. I know one thing, this’ll make a great story on the six o’clock news in Tehran.

  9. How many hospitals did she set on fire? How long did ICE detain her before discovering she was an American citizen and then releasing her?

    At the risk of sounding like OBL, if the answers are “less than one” and “ICE didn’t detain her” then I don’t see a Reason-brand libertarian angle to this story.

    1. Well she’s a journalist and Reason writers are members of the same club so there is a Reason angle. They are much more important than the rest of us and have more rights what with that whole 1st amendment thing. But seriously, if an American citizen is taken into custody on U.S. soil and held against her will for a week, the FBI has some explaining to do.

      OT. As always amid the flood of dark tragedies that threaten to engulf us every day, a beautiful beam of sunshine breaks through to warm our hearts.

      “As of this morning, HuffPost’s opinion section is no more”

      1. Awwww fuck yaaa, buddy! Many will just go freelance, a few will pick up similar jobs at similar hand-wringing garbage publications, and some will get snapped up by the shadow Comintern companies that are the mouthpieces for the Maduros, the Ortegas, the Putins, the Bernies, etc

        1. But yes I am glad that the HuffPo hydra is cutting off and cauterizing it’s most insidious head.

          1. +100

  10. Monstrous treatment .

    Hashemi was reportedly denied Halal food
    She may have had to eat what everyone else was eating. No ritually slaughtered goat allowed.

    and her hijab was forcibly removed.
    Those bastards took her hat.

  11. I see the Trump morons that have infected Reason’s comment section were out for this one.

    1. trolls and their judementy script.

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