The family and friends of a retired U.S. Marine from Flint are taking their campaign to gain his release from an Iranian prison cell to the White House on Monday.
Iranian officials arrested Amir Hekmati nearly three years ago while he was visiting relatives.
At one time, Hekmati faced the death penalty after being convicted of espionage charges. That conviction was overturned. Recently, he was convicted on other charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Hekmati’s sister Sarah says diplomatic efforts have been increasing to win her brother’s release. This week’s vigil across the street from the White House is intended to keep attention on Amir’s case.
“We’re very humbled by the support we’ve been getting, all over the country…really internationally from people who have never met us, who have just for the sake of this cause wanting to show their support and raising awareness,” says Sarah Hekmati.
Amir Hekmati’s case has been discussed by U.S. and Iranian diplomats.
His lawyer told the New York Times that Amir Hekmati could be released in a matter of months if the U-S agreed to release several Iranian prisoners. Though he did not say what their offenses may have been.
The Hekmati family is hoping to win Amir's freedom as soon as possible. His father Ali has been battling brain cancer and recently suffered a stroke.