Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Update on Flint native imprisoned in Iran: sister meets with Swiss ambassador

Although Amir Hekmati remains in police custody in Tehran, the most recent updates on the case provide some hope.

Since Michigan Radio’s Stateside report this past Wednesday, Amir Hekmati's sister, Sarah, met with the Swiss ambassador to Tehran. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.

According to a MLive report by Blake Thorne, Sarah Hekmati said on Thursday that the Swiss ambassador indicated that Iranian officials may revisit Hekmati’s case. Sarah elaborated:

"She felt like the fact that he went from a death sentence to now an open-ended case was good news."

At the meeting, Sarah gave the ambassador letters and books that she hopes can be delivered to her brother.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati was accused of spying for the CIA on a visit to Iran to see his grandmother.

In January 2012, he was sentenced to death for allegedly conspiring with the U.S. government. Although his sentence was overturned by the Iranian Supreme Court, he remains in prison waiting for a retrial.

The case has received national attention.

This past Wednesday, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the Department of State, Wendy Sherman, mentioned Amir in an address to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Hekmati is among two other U.S. citizens currently detained and/or missing in Iran. In Sherman's address, she assured that the Department of State "will continue to raise these cases directly and publicly as we also pursue all available options until all three of these Americans return home safely."

Recently the family launched the Amir Hekmati Freedom Campaign on the online fundraising site Indiegogo. They hope to raise $10,000 by June 3.

According to the site, the funds will be "spent domestically to continue to raise Amir's case in the media, with elected officials, and with the general public."

To learn more about Amir and his family’s efforts to bring him home, visit their website here.

-Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom