Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) took time on the House floor this morning to remind his colleagues that U.S. Marine vet Amir Hekmati has spent almost 1,000 in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
“This is a young man who simply went to visit his family, traveled with permission in a transparent fashion and is now caught up in this geopolitical struggle as Iran apparently seeks to rejoin the international community,” Kildee said.
“One thousand days in prison. Holidays have passed. We experience every one of these days, the changing of seasons. For all of us we take these moments, these passages for granted. For Amir Hekmati, every day is the same. Every day he’s in a cell, for many, many months in a three-by-three cell, unable to even sit down for all but ten minutes a day.”
Kildee referenced ongoing P5+1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. “If Iran seeks to join the global community, and if this Congress is to take any agreement that might be struck seriously, Iran must now free Amir Hekmati. If they expect to be taken seriously, they cannot hold political prisoners,” he said.
“Now, for most of us, we don’t think there’s much we can do about this, but I think every American citizen, every member of Congress, especially those who have joined me in a bipartisan fashion calling upon Iran to release Amir Hekmati, can do something – we all can.”
The congressman encouraged the use of the hashtag #FreeAmir to spread the word — “believe me, it sends a message.”
“It sends a message across the globe. It sends a message to the Iranian people, to the Iranian government. It sends a message to the friends and family of Amir Hekmati that the country stands with him,” Kildee said. “During those one thousand days, Amir Hekmati’s father has fallen ill; he has brain cancer. It is time, for even if just for humanitarian purposes, it is time – long past time – for Iran to do what’s right and to release Amir Hekmati so he can come home and be with his family.”