Free Marzieh Hashemi!

On Jan. 13, U.S.-born journalist Marzieh Hashemi was arrested at St. Louis Airport while on her way to visit a sick family member in Denver. Hashemi, an African-American Muslim, has not been charged with a crime.

Yet she was transported from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., in chains, stripped of her clothing, given only a tee shirt to wear, and offered pork meals in a disgusting effort by her kidnappers to humiliate and degrade her. Meanwhile, the U.S. government served subpoenas to her children, who live in the United States, to appear before a grand jury.

The FBI claims she is being held as a material witness for a criminal case and is not charged with anything. This means that she can be held indefinitely.

It is no unusual thing for a Black woman, or any Muslim woman for that matter, to be treated in such a disgusting and criminal way by the so-called U.S. justice system. Some advocates voice legitimate concern that Hashemi’s work on the Black Lives Matter movement is what earmarked her for state repression. It is also likely that her kidnapping and detention are part of the ongoing effort by the U.S. to crack down on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Marzieh Hashemi was studying at the University of Louisiana when she came into contact with international students supporting the Iranian Revolution of 1979. That revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed torturer Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and ushered in an era of self-determination for the Iranian people. After marrying an Iranian, she migrated to Iran to work as a journalist.

She is best known as an anchor for PressTV, an international Iranian news syndicate. Her stories prominently featured the Black Lives Matter struggle, letting the world know about the Black community’s own struggle for self-determination. Born and raised in New Orleans, Hashemi was no stranger to white supremacy and racism, and sought to expose these crimes at every opportunity.

The fact that the U.S. is holding several Iranian citizens captive as bargaining chips against the Iranian government is not new. However, this is the first time they have kidnapped and held a U.S.-born citizen in relation to the Trump regime’s crackdown on the Islamic Republic.

In addition to the U.S. insistence that the Canadian government turn over Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese company Huawei — allegedly because she violated the genocidal U.S. sanctions against oil-rich Iran — this seems to indicate aggressive maneuvering and a possible ramping-up of hostilities against Iran, one of the strongest bulwarks against U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, Central Asia and worldwide.

We join with the rest of the world’s working class and oppressed in demanding the immediate release of Marzieh Hashemi. Online petitions can be found at both here and here.

We urge readers to sign them. Let’s not stop until Marzieh is free! Hands off Marzieh, her family, and the Islamic Republic of Iran!

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