Read the smuggled letter from Amir Hekmati
Amir Hekmati is a former U.S. Marine who has been held in an Iranian prison since 2011.
He's accused of being an American spy. He was tried and sentenced to death in 2012, but a higher court overturned that sentence and he is now awaiting a retrial.
His Flint, Michigan family has been working on his release ever since he was detained.
The Guardian has obtained a letter from Hekmati that was smuggled out of prison. The paper says Hekmati's family has verified the letter's authenticity.
Here's the text of the letter in which he says he's being held as a hostage by Iran:
To: Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State, US State Department
From: Amir Hekmati
SSN: --- -- ----
Dear Mr. Kerry
I first of all would like to thank you and your department for your sincere efforts in supporting me and securing my release. My family and I are extremely grateful and appreciate the value the State Department places on U.S. citizens. For over 2 years I have been held on false charges based solely on confessions obtained by force, threats, miserable prison conditions, and prolonged periods of solitary confinement. This is part of a propaganda and hostage taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges. Iranian intelligence has suggested through my court-appointed lawyer Mr. Hussein Yazdi Samadi that I be released in exchange for 2 Iranians being held abroad. I had nothing to do with their arrest, committed no crime, and see no reason why the U.S. Government should entertain such a ridiculous proposition. I do not wish to set a precedent for others that may be unlawfully (obtained) for political gain in the future. While my family and I have suffered greatly I will accept nothing but my unconditional release. The very same suffering that the 3 American hikers have recently suffered and many others by these unlawful tactics. My hope is that those individuals within the Iranian government who respect rule of law and international ethics will intervene in my case. As someone of Iranian heritage, I hope that the Iranian people will also support me and call on their government to respect my legal rights.
The Guardian reports that there might be hope for Hekmati's release:
The new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani's moderate mandate has raised hopes for the former marine's release.
"My hope is that those individuals within the Iranian government who respect rule of law and international ethics will intervene in my case," Hekmati writes.
Hekmati's family, who were made aware of the letter's existence ahead of publication, also released a statement. "The Hekmati family is deeply concerned about our son and brother Amir," it said.
Iran and the U.S. have not had diplomatic ties since the 1979 hostage crisis.
His family has been working through diplomats in other countries that do have ties to Iran.