Family's plea: Free Michigan man imprisoned in Iran - FOX 32 News Chicago

Family's plea: Free Michigan man imprisoned in Iran

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Amir Hekmati Amir Hekmati

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- There was a plea for mercy and freedom Tuesday from the family of a Michigan man imprisoned in Iran. His family has been unable to contact him. Now they're turning to the media for help as Iran's president prepares to speak at the United Nations.

"He spent two weeks with relatives while he was in Iran and then disappeared," said Sarah Hekmati.

Her younger brother, Amir, vanished in August of last year. For four months, his family did not know his whereabouts. They engaged in a frantic search, then in December they saw him.

"The first confirmation that we had of Amir being in Iran was seeing his face on television on a video showing him confessing to being a spy to the CIA," Hekmati explained.

  Amir Hekmati
Amir Hekmati

The family says he was forced to make that statement. He was unfairly sentenced to death. His death sentence was thrown out. He was granted a new trial, but still he is in prison. Though some relatives had been allowed to see him, the family hasn't had contact with him in months.

"Amir's not part of the politics sect that's engulfed that area and has been a big problem between Iran and the U.S. Amir's our brother, our son, our uncle. His father's recently very ill, and we want him to come home," said Ramy Kurdi.

He said his brother-in-law was only in Iran to visit his ailing grandmother. A former Marine who grew up in Flint, the 29-year-old Amir had plans to take classes at U of M. Now his father is gravely ill. A brain tumor removed, he remains hospitalized and his prognosis is not good.

"We are not going to count the days that we have, we want to count the quality of the time that we might have, and we want Amir home to share that with him and we hope for that. We pray for that. We ask for mercy. We ask for diplomacy, and we ask for humanity," Kurdi said.

The family is speaking out right now in hopes of getting a message to Iran's President Ahmadinejad, who is scheduled to speak before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

"We want this word about Amir to reach out through the media and that the Iranian government leadership can be directly questioned while they are here on American soil," said Dawud Walid with the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"We just want to ask him to put aside differences, to put aside politics, and that when he goes home... that he remembers that bond between a parent and a child and to respect that and to release Amir to return home to his father."

For more information, you can visit www.FreeAmir.org.

By: Amy Lange

Amy Lange is a reporter for Fox 2 News. You can contact her at Amy.Lange@foxtv.com.

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