Flint Veteran Held Hostage In Iran Goes On Hunger Strike
A Flint man went to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, and has been sitting in prison ever since. The former United States marine is sending a strong message to President Obama by going on a hunger strike while being held in a prison north of Tehran. Amir Hekmati carries both U.S. and Iranian citizenship.
It is my hope that after reading this letter you, or anyone who may see this, will help end the nightmare I have been living.
Born in Arizona and raised in Michigan, he was arrested, tried and convicted of spying in August of 2011 and sentenced to death. He appealed, got out of the death sentence and had a retrial in 2012. There the spying charge was overturned, but he got slapped with 10 years for "cooperating with hostile governments", according to the Detroit Free Press.
Hekmati send a letter that he dictated on Monday to his family in Flint, asking that it be addressed to President Obama. His sister, Sarah Hekmati, forwarded a copy of that letter to the Associated Press on Tuesday. His desperation is evident as Amir writes, "It is my hope that after reading this letter you, or anyone who may see this, will help end the nightmare I have been living."
This man, this American citizen, went to visit his grandmother and never came home. Falsely accused, and now helpless. Yes there is tension between the U.S. and Iran, but that's not Amir's fault.
He continues to write in his letter, "I ask that you not forget me, Mr. President. I ask that you make it clear that my case is unrelated and should be resolved independent of your talks. I ask that your team impress upon the Iranian officials that more than three years without resolution is simply too long. I know that the climate between the United States and Iran is delicate. But I should not fall victim to it."
Hekmati is losing hope and feels abandoned, but understandably so. His life is passing him by, his father was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, and he's a hostage halfway around the world. How does this happen, and what can we do to bring this veteran home?