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Michigan family of Iran detainee says he needs better legal help

Amir Hekmati.
Released by the family
Amir Hekmati

The Michigan family of an Iranian-American detained in Iran for four months on espionage charges says he's not getting adequate legal representation. 

The family of Amir Hekmati said in a statement that his "only advocate in Iran is a government-appointed lawyer who he first met on the day of his trial." The statement says the family has tried to hire "at least 10 different attorneys ... but to no avail."

The family also says they tried to contact at least five different high officials in the Iranian government, including Iran's president and the country's representatives in the U.S., but have not received any reply.

Hekmati's family says the former U.S. military translator was visiting his grandmothers. Iranian prosecutors say Hekmati was working for the CIA and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The 28-year-old was born in Arizona and graduated from a Flint high school. His father Ali is a professor at Mott Community College in Flint. The State Department has called for Hekmati's release.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.