Communication And Better Conditions Lead to A New Hope for Amir Hekmati and His Family.
In what seems like a blink of an eye for most of us, the past two years have been quite a hardship for the Hekmati family. Amir Hekmati, a 29-year old Flint man, has been imprisoned in Iran for almost that long. In 2011 he was incarcerated under suspicion of being an American Spy.
Hekmati was visiting his grandmother for two weeks in Tehran when Iranian officials accused him of acting as a spy for the CIA. These allegations have been denied and continue to be by the Hekmati family and U.S. Officials.
His family and government officials have not given up the fight to bring Hekmati to justice and most importantly back home.
In a press briefing on April 26th 2013, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said “one of our highest priorities is ensuring the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens overseas, and we’ve been continuously working to secure the release of Mr. Hekmati.”
Family members have made many trips to Washington D.C., to raise the profile of Hekmati’s case and his sister, Sarah, will be returning to there this month to meet with the Swiss ambassador to Tehran.
The Swiss represent U.S. interests in Iran, as the U.S. has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.
Hekmati was first sentenced to death but last March the sentence was overturned due to insufficient evidence. Rather, he was put in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin Prison for more than a year, a prison considered one of the world’s most brutal.
Recently however, Hekmati was moved to another part of the prison where the conditions are better and he is able to interact with others. The best part of this is that he is now able to communicate with members of his family and even receive monthly visits from an uncle in Tehran.
The letters brought about a lot of emotion, as it was the first time that Hekmati has been able to express his thoughts openly. Although the letters were brief on his condition, Sarah said her brother’s letters were full of love and support. The letters were written in Farsi, which Sarah said she knows they require him to do for a reason, so they can monitor him. But none-the-less he was able to communicate with his family, something they think is a hopeful step in a new direction.
Back here in Michigan, the Hekmati family is undergoing other challenges as well. Ali Hekmati, Amir’s dad and a professor at Mott Community College, is currently undergoing chemotherapy as he was diagnosed with brain cancer but it too early to determine how he will respond to treatment.
Amir Hekmati has assured his family that he is staying strong.
Brenda and Dan will be speaking live on air tomorrow, May 8th 2013, either to Ramy Kurdi (Amir's brother-in-law) or Sarah Hekmati between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tune in to WFNT 1470 AM or WFNT.com to hear more about this story first hand.
For more information on Amir as well as how to assist and take action please visit, www.freeamir.org.