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Groups ask for pardon of Flint man held by Iran

Amir Hekmati
courtesy of FreeAmir.org
Amir Hekmati

A Muslim advocacy group is asking the Iranian government to pardon a Michigan it convicted of spying for the U.S. government.

Amir Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Three years ago, he traveled to Iran to visit his extended family. Hekmati is from Flint.

But when he arrived he was arrested and convicted of "cooperating with hostile governments." He's been in prison ever since.

Now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other other groups are asking the Iranian government to pardon Hekmati.

So any communication that the U.S. state department has tried making with the Iranian government, they’ve had to make it through a third party like the Swiss government,” said Dawud Walid, who heads CAIR’s Michigan chapter. He says it's tough because the two countries have no official relations.

Walid hopes the Iranian government will consider the month of Ramadan as a time to show mercy.

Hekmati’s sister, Sarah Hekmati, shares that hope.

“We want to be cautiously optimistic, and at the same time we are getting really drained and tired from just the ambiguity and the wait and not really knowing and understanding what’s going on in this process,” she said.

--Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom