Our mother, Marzieh Hashemi, is an African-American Muslim journalist who is visiting her family in the United States, including her ailing brother and her grandchildren. On Sunday January 13th, she was detained at St Louis airport and transferred to a Washington DC facility by the FBI. She is not being held for any charges.
We were given little to no information from officials for close to two days and have received only one phone call from her on January 15th, when she described civil and religious rights violations by the authorities. At that time, she told us her hijab was removed against her will and she was forced to take a mug shot without her hijab. She was given short-sleeved clothing that does not comply with her religious dress code and she had to wrap a t-shirt on her head as a temporary covering. The authorities have refused to give her halal or vegetarian meals, effectively denying her food up until last spoken to.
At the time of the phone call she had not been charged with any crime and the reason for her detention is still unclear.
We are gravely concerned that our mother’s civil and religious rights have been violated. To forcibly remove a woman’s clothing in this manner is a deeply distressing and violating experience.
Our mother is a 59-year-old American born, US citizen, who has been living in Iran working as a journalist and often travels home to the United States to visit family and friends. She should be able to do this without fear of her civil and religious rights being violated. We are at a complete loss as to why an internationally recognized journalist would be arrested in this manner and call for her immediate release.
She has been appointed a public attorney, however her case may require further legal action and we are looking into hiring other lawyers to help ensure she is released as soon as possible. Her children are also in need of attorneys.
Please help in any way you can to help cover the legal costs related to this. Thank you.
￼Jazakallah and thank you for everyone’s quick responses. May you be rewarded in this world and the hereafter. Her family have had a last minute meeting with another lawyer and have decided to go with him, so they have reduced the amount needed. We feel this go fund me page will reach and probably exceed its goal quickly. We are therefore reducing the goal to $30,000 as we are not comfortable if it grows too much in excess of what we need. Of course, lawyer fees can exceed the initial amount quickly if the case is prolonged, and there are various travel and auxiliary costs that add up quickly. We will cross that bridge when we get there. We have also been advised that Marzieh Hashemi’s children may be able to get by with public defenders, at least for the time being. Therefore, before this grows too fast we are lowering the goal. Thank you. Your prayers and warmth has made the largest difference in these trying times.