Amir Hekmati held in Iranian prison after secret retrial

Family hopes for release of son of former WSC professor


Photo Courtesy of Facebook

When Admir was a child he lived in Wayne, Neb.

Sarah Lentz, Staff Writer

974 days.

That’s how long Amir Hekmati has been held in an Iranian prison. First, Hekmati was arrested for being a CIA spy and recently, he was retried for “practical collaboration with the American government.”

Two years after his initial imprisonment, Amir Hekmati, the son of former Wayne State College professor Dr. Ali Hekmati, is still a bargaining chip in the rocky relationship between the United States and Iran.

Hekmati was sentenced to ten years in a Tehran prison after a secret trial, according to The New York Times earlier this month.

In the article, Hekmati’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, said that neither he nor Hekmati were informed about his retrial, conviction or sentence, and they have yet to receive written confirmation of the outcome.

Tabatabaei is hopeful he can get his client’s sentence reduced.

“Under Iranian law, and because of his polite behavior in jail, I am trying to get him released after he has served three years of his sentence,” Tabatabaei told the Times.

Though Tabatabaei is doing what he can for Hekmati, he said that getting Hekmati out might depend on negotiations between the U.S. and Iran.

“Maybe I can get him released even before that, but a lot depends on the Americans,” Tabatabaei said. “If they show their good will, it will become much easier to get Mr. Hekmati freed.”

That good will would include releasing at least some of the Iranian prisoners incarcerated in America.

Hekmati, a non-active duty Marine, was initially arrested for espionage in August 2011 while he was in Iran to visit his grandmother. By January 2012, Hekmati was sentenced to death. In March of that year that sentence was overturned and a new trial was ordered.

Hekmati’s family is hoping to get their son and brother home soon, especially since Dr. Hekmati’s health is in decline after a stroke and the discovery of a brain tumor.

According to, a website started by the Hekmati family, Dr. Hekmati’s physician even wrote a letter to the Iranian government pleading for Amir Hekmati’s release so that he can see his father before his health fails him. The Iranian government has not responded to that letter.

For now, 974 days and counting.