An American-born journalist working for an English-language newspaper in Iran was detained in Washington on Sunday without any definite reason and allegedly mistreated.

Marzieh Hashemi, a journalist and anchor for Press TV, was visiting her brother, who was unwell, and other relatives in Washington when she was detained at St. Louis Lambert International Airport by federal agents and later transferred to a detention facility in Washington. There were no formal charges brought on against her and no information regarding her detention was released.

Although she was detained Sunday, her family only got to know about it 48 hours later. When she finally was allowed to communicate with her family, she told them that she was mistreated in the detention center, which included the removal of her hijab against her will and that she was being treated as a criminal.

She claimed she was also not being given proper food at the facility and had only been living off pretzels and bread after being detained.

The news of Hashemi’s detention was first reported in a Press TV article, which was flooded with angry comments.

“This is the United State's [Sic] way of giving a temper tantrum when Iran tries to divulge secrets that the U.S. tries to hide from the rest of the world. It's yet another frantically pathetic move made by the U.S. in order to coerce silence on anyone who dares to oppose. Marzieh Hashemi never deserved this. May Allah grant her patience,” one person wrote in the comments section.

According to Wikiwand, Hashemi is the editor-in-chief of Mahjubah magazine apart from being a correspondent for Press TV. She was born in a Protestant African-American family in New Orleans, Louisiana. She converted to Islam after hearing about the Iranian revolution as a student in the field of broadcasting in 1979. She moved to Iran in 2008.

About her decision to convert to Islam, she said: “When I was a student in America I witnessed that the Iranian students are so active and I was so interested in political activities then, I used to ask them about their activities and purposes, why you protest? And they used to talk about the cruelty of the overset king and Imam Khomeini to me, and this was the first step of me becoming Muslim…. I started to study not only about Islam but about different religions, and simultaneously comparing them in theory and ideology, from Marx Weber up to now, and thanks God, after I became Muslim.”

She has reported against a number of practices of the U.S. government. For instance, in a 2013 documentary made by Hashemi, that began circulating on Twitter following her arrest, she claimed that Africans were being removed from their country of origin by the U.S., treated as slaves and brainwashed to make them believe they were inferior.

Iran Flag
An American-born journalist working for an English-language newspaper in Iran was detained in Washington. In this photo, Iranian supporters wave the national flag ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Spain at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, June 20, 2018. Getty Images/ Benjamin Cremel