US Frees Iranian State TV Journalist

The United States has freed a journalist working for Iran’s English-language television station Press TV after 10 days in detention, the channel has announced.

US-born Marzieh Hashemi was arrested on arrival at St Louis Lambert International Airport on January 13.

A Muslim convert who changed her name from Melanie Franklin, she had reportedly been visiting her ill brother and other family members.

Press TV reported her release late on Wednesday.

“The US government has released without charge Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi after 10 days of illegal detention,” said the report published on its website.

The site carried an audio message from Hashemi in which she confirmed her release and thanked her family and friends for their support.

“Finally, I’ve been released from jail,” she said.

“I have a lot to say about what I’ve been through. We will talk about it later, God willing,” she added, apparently in a reference to reports she had been forced to remove her headscarf worn as required under Islamic law.

A US court said on Friday that Hashemi had been arrested but that she would be freed after giving testimony over an unspecified case.

It is not yet clear if she had given evidence before being released.

The detention had caused an uproar in Iran with many conservatives pointing to it as an example of US hypocrisy over human rights and freedom of speech.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on January 17 described the detention as a “political action” by the United States that “tramples on freedom of speech” and demanded she be released.