Kerry Appeals to Iran for ‘Humanitarian’ Release of Amir Hekmati on Fourth Anniversary of Imprisonment
Today marks four years since Iran seized Amir Hekmati and threw the decorated Marine veteran in Evin prison on false espionage charges.
Hekmati, born in Flagstaff, Ariz., after his parents left Iran in 1979, had been in a country for a couple of weeks visiting extended family for the first time. On Aug. 29, 2011, Amir called his mother to say he would be wrapping up the trip and coming home soon to Michigan.
Amir was due for a holiday gathering that evening. He never showed up. It wasn’t until four months later that the family received confirmation Amir was locked up in Evin. He was originally sentenced to death, which was later changed to 10 years behind bars for alleged “collaboration” with the United States.
“Today marks four years that our brother, son and American Marine veteran, Amir Hekmati, has been imprisoned in Iran. He traveled to Iran as a tourist to visit family, committed no crime, yet this nightmare continues. He received approval for his trip from Iranian authorities and was reassured that he would not be punished for his service in the marines,” the Hekmati family said in a statement today.
“Now he has suffered in an Iranian prison longer than any American in history. The urgency for Amir’s release now is great. Under the Iranian judicial system, Amir is eligible to be released for time served or pardoned. Amir’s father is battling brain cancer and has suffered several strokes. Time is not on our side. Amir is needed home to care for his family with our father in a wheelchair, requiring 24-hour care and assisted-living.”
Amir’s congressman, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), has been lobbying his colleagues these years to not forget the hostages in Iran.
“For the last 1,461 days, he has endured unimaginable treatment and detention. An American and a Marine, he is sadly now the longest held political prisoner in Iran,” Kildee said. “Through it all, the Hekmati family has shown tremendous strength despite being separated from their son and brother. The Hekmati family longs to have Amir home. For them, four years means missed moments with a loved one who continues to languish in a prison cell on the other side of the world. They continue to fight tirelessly for Amir’s release, and like me, won’t stop until he’s home.”
“Iran must act to release Amir and the other Americans it holds. Amir is innocent and needs to be reunited with his family in Michigan.”