US Court Says Detained Iran TV Anchor Testifying

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Marzieh Hashemi, a US-born Iranian news anchor arrested five days ago during a visit to the US, is testifying behind closed doors to a grand jury in Washington, DC, a US federal judge said.

US Court Says Detained Iran TV Anchor Testifying

The disclosure by Beryl Howell, chief judge of the US District Court in Washington, marked the first time any US authority has provided information on the mystery surrounding Hashemi, an anchor on Press TV, the English-language version of Iran's state television.

Family members say Hashemi, 59, was detained at St. Louis' Lambert International Airport on Sunday and then taken by the FBI to Washington.

But the FBI and other US law enforcement bodies refused to comment, declining to say whether she was even in their custody.

Judge Howell said Hashemi has not been charged with any crime, but has made two appearances in District Court, NPR reported. She is expected to be released when she completes her grand jury testimony.

Howell's order did not say when Hashemi might wrap up her testimony and gave no information on the case in which she was testifying.

However, Hashemi's lawyer, Preston Burton, said, "we expect that she will soon return to her family, her home, and her career."

Hashemi was born in New Orleans with the name Melanie Franklin. She married an Iranian man, converted to Islam, changed her name and moved to Iran in the 1980s. While she's unknown in the US, she's a prominent figure in Iran due to her position on state television. She's a citizen of both the US and Iran.

Hashemi traveled to the US to visit relatives and to shoot a documentary, according to The Associated Press, which spoke to her son Hossein Hashemi.

"We want more clear answers," Hossein Hashemi said in a separate interview with Press TV. "We have hard time understanding how someone who is not charged can be held in a facility like that."

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