Conflict & Justice

Family of Former Marine Jailed In Iran Pleads for Prisoner's Freedom


Amir Hekmati (Photo:


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Family members of Amir Hekmati were wary when the 28-year-old Iranian American told his relatives of his plans to visit Iran.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Hekmati was born in Arizonia, and was raised in Nebraska and Michigan. After high school, he joined the Marines and served in Iraq as a translator.

Hekmati's travels had never taken him to Iran. And despite the objections of his mother, he set out to visit his grandmothers in Iran in the summer of 2011.

Weeks after arriving, Iranian authorities arrested Hekmati, and accused him of spying for the CIA. He was tried, convicted and – in January – sentenced to death.

That conviction was overturned in March, but Hekmati remains in prison.

Marco Werman talks with Amir Hekmati's sister, Sarah Hekmati, a school social worker who lives in Lathrup Village, Michigan and Amir Hekmati's brother-in-law Ramy Kurdi, an orthopedic surgeon.

Iranian authorities broadcast Hekmati's "confession" in the video below.