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"We're a broken family," one year after Flint native imprisoned in Iran


The family of Amir  Hekmati is marking the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment in Iran.

The Flint native and Marine veteran was seized by Iranian authorities while visiting his grandmother. He was charged with spying for the CIA and sentenced to death.

That sentence was lifted, but there's no sign of progress in gaining his release

Hekmati's brother-in-law, Ramy Kurdi, says the family is being careful not to offend Iranian officials by emphasizing his innocence.

"(But) we want to create an awareness," Kurdi told Michigan Radio.  "Amir has a right to be remembered and to be recognized.  We want him not to be forgotten - and we have a sense of urgency as a family."

Kurdi thinks politics are at the root of Hekmati's jailing. He says Hekmati's mother visited him in Iran, and he was emaciated and pale - but he couldn't talk freely with her about how he was being treated

State department officials say the charges against Hekmati are "categorically false."

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.