- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Marine veteran who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2011 has started a hunger strike and pleaded with President Obama to “end the nightmare.”

Amir Hekmati was arrested in 2011 for allegedly spying for the U.S., although the Flint, Mich., native maintained that he entered the country to visit his grandmother. He was convicted of spying charges by Iran’s Supreme Court and sentenced to death, but in 2012 the ruling was overturned and changed to “cooperating with hostile governments.” Mr. Hekmati was then sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sarah Hekmati, Mr. Hekmati’s sister, told The Associated Press Wednesday that he has started a hunger strike. She also sent the news organization a copy of a letter meant for Mr. Obama.

“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,” the letter reads, AP reported. “Every day, I wake hoping that there is news of my release. Every night, I go to sleep disappointed to mark another day that I am still behind these prison walls, away from my family, friends and meaningful human contact. Away from my father who is gravely ill. There is no end in sight.”

Mr. Hekmati is being held in Iran’s Evin prison, which is located north of Tehran, AP reported. The U.S. denies that Mr. Hekmati was ever a spy.

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