- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Family pleads with Iran to free jailed ex-Marine
Question of the Day
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — The family of a former Marine imprisoned on espionage charges in Iran is using Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York to address U.N. General Assembly to renew their pleas for his release.
The family of Amir Hekmati, who was arrested while visiting his grandmothers in Iran in August 2011, held a news conference with the Council for Islamic-American Relations in suburban Detroit during which they appealed to Iran to release Hekmati on humanitarian grounds. Mr. Hekmati’s father was diagnosed last week with an inoperable brain tumor, and the family asked that the 29-year-old be allowed to return home to be with his father.
“We ask for mercy. We ask for diplomacy. We ask for humanity,” said Mr. Hekmati’s brother-in-law, Ramy Kurdi. He said he hopes Mr. Ahmadinejad raises her brother’s case on returning home “so the wise leaders there can make a decision and let him come home.”
Sarah Hekmati, who is married to Mr. Kurdi, added, “We hope that the Iranian authorities who are here in the United States will hear our plea.”
Amir Hekmati was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. His parents live in the Flint area, where his father, Ali Hekmati, teaches at Mott Community College.
The younger Mr. Hekmati, whom Iran accuses of being a CIA spy, was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. His conviction was overturned in January, but he has remained in prison with limited contact with his family. No new trial has been scheduled.
The U.S. government repeatedly has denied that Mr. Hekmati is a spy. In August, the State Department raised concerns about his health following reports that he had lost a lot of weight.
Islamic council Michigan director Dawud Walid said his group repeatedly has reached out to Iranian officials on Mr. Hekmati’s behalf.
“They know our organization very well,” Mr. Walid said. “We know them, and they know us.”
“He should be allowed phone calls, visits on a weekly basis,” said Sarah Hekmati, 31, of Lathrup Village, Mich. “He has no contact with us. We have no idea what his condition is.”
Lena Masri, a lawyer for the Islamic council, said it and the family are going public now after many efforts behind the scenes.
“Every channel that we tried to pursue has hit a dead end,” Ms. Masri said. She said Iranian officials may hope to trade Mr. Hekmati for U.S. detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors